Even a broken clock is right twice a day

Unless, it’s a digital clock. Then, it’s just broken.

“Your clock says it’s 12:05.”

Oh, for fuck’s sake, I know what the stupid clock says.

Not that there are more pressing issues, but I’m not sad about the daylight savings thing.

Every time we change our clocks, I spend days in a fog. And that gets worse every year. Like this last one? I’m still not sure what time it is. I just know I’m goddamn tired.

Anyway, broken clocks.

I had this alarm clock with red numbers. Nothing fancy. Made an unpleasant sound. I had that clock for at least 35 years. I bought it 14 years before I met Randy. That was my alarm clock from age 18 until around age 53. But as happens with electronics, there comes a day when the clock went from waking me up every day to becoming trash.

So, I bought a new alarm clock. A little brighter. It worked. The alarm wasn’t quite as obnoxious.

Clock #2 made it six fucking years before crapping out. Six years. I had the other one for 35. Also, get off my lawn.

I ordered a new clock two days ago. It’s on my bedside table right now as I type this. It did indeed say “12:05” and now says “12:15”.

The clock is a circle, like a sun. With a five star rating, the clock costs under 50 bucks. It’s supposed to bring up a natural light and, as the alarm goes off, you get sounds which could be ocean waves or wind chimes. Shit like that. Not stupid blaring alarms like the broken one or the alarm clock that tortured me with terrible sounds for 35 years.

I bought a kind clock. A friendly clock. A clock who was on my side. What a concept. This could be a game changer.


If I woke up to natural light and the sound of chirping birds, then every morning would be like Snow White or Cinderella or some shit.

Turns out, I’m having a few problems.

First, I can’t find my prescription bifocals. I had to buy two stupidly expensive pairs and now I can’t find my house pair. I also have a work pair. 

All I had was a pair of drugstore readers.

The clock buttons are small and the same color as the surrounding area of the clock. Without glasses, I can tell there are around 10 or 12 buttons, but they all look the same.

With drug store readers, I see different shapes on the buttons, but I don’t think I’m seeing them right. I see what looks like a spirograph thingy, a circle with little circles around it, like a flower and maybe a sun?

There is definitely a plus and a minus and the middle part might be the symbol for the artist formerly known as Prince.

The sun glowed softly and the clock said “12:00”.

I mean, I didn’t see the light and the incorrect time right away. Some things had to happen.

Randy had his bifocals on this face. I asked him to read the directions to me.

Randy: Yeah, this print is too small. I can’t read this.

Then, he started watching The Sopranos.

I took back the directions.

Me: Nothing is going to happen until I plug it in.

Randy: The plug is behind the bed.

Me: I can get under the bed.


Me: I can get under the fucking bed.

What was working in my favor, is that when we moved into this house, Randy bought a new base for our bed. He bought an absurdly tall one which means I can fit under the bed platform.

It’s just that the occasions, when I find myself scooting on my belly across the floor, are rare.

Being underneath the bed wasn’t pleasant. It hurt my knees. And I am a terrible housekeeper.

I plugged in the clock and climbed back on the bed.

If I had more light, I thought I would be able to better see the buttons. Maybe, read the directions. I asked the nice lady in my phone to turn on my flashlight.

First, I looked at the buttons which I could see a little better. The spirograph thingy looked a little clearer.

I put down the phone and picked up the directions.

When I picked up the phone, I shined the light directly into my eyes. Remember camera flashbulbs? Yes, spots.

I think the directions said to hold the spirograph thing down for two seconds. I did and nothing happened.

Me: Fucking hell.


Me: Maybe, I’m supposed to hold the flower down.

Randy: That sentence probably wouldn’t make sense to most people.

I don’t know what series of buttons I pushed, but the time started flashing, like I could change it. I changed the hours, but couldn’t figure out how to change the minutes.

Me: I think after the plus sign. I’m supposed to press the sunshine. Or Prince.

Me: Dude.

Randy: What?

Me: I am not even kidding. The word “Pluto” flashed and the clock went dead.

I pushed all the buttons, but couldn’t get the clock to do anything. So, I shined the flashlight behind the bed.

The clock was unplugged.

The cord is too short. We decided the best way to deal with the short cord was to shift the bed over a bit. Problem solved. That hasn’t happened yet, because like I said, Randy is watching The Sopranos now.

I plugged in the clock and started randomly pushing buttons again, but carefully. I didn’t want to risk unplugging it again. I very nearly got the time to change. I know how to make the sun brighter or dimmer.

The clock made cricket noises for a minute and reads “1:05” now.

I miss my old clocks.

My phone will have to be my alarm again tomorrow. I realize that a lot of people have been using their phone for alarms for years, but not me.

Phones are phones and alarms are alarms. Again, get off my lawn. 

I do use the timer on my phone when I bake, though. Which is only kind of true. Mostly, I ask Randy to set the timer on his phone.

My magical clock feels a bit less magical right now. I don’t want to give up hope. I just have to figure out a solution.

I could bring my work glasses home, but then I run the risk of forgetting them when I go back to work. Then, I’m fucked. Or I could ask Joey to set it up for me, but I have to pick a moment where I won’t mind being mocked by my child. Because there would be mocking about my age and failing eyesight. It’s how we do.

Either way, I’m kind of done with it for the night. Wish me luck for tomorrow. Or maybe send a prayer up that the clock fairy will set it for me.

At the very least, if I could just locate my at house bifocals.

I think I’d like the alarm to be ocean waves.



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  • All those sounds you mentioned are on sound machines to enable you to fall ASLEEP! Not wake you up! Or pee. Either way, the good thing about the loud, obnoxious alarm sounds is that they do, in fact, wake you up! Or I could call you every morning!

  • I swear all this shit is designed by people who live on an island and have only an abstract notion for what life is really like. Their intentions are often good but there’s also this definite attitude of, “Everyone who buys this will have 20/20 vision and live in a house built after 2007 that has outlets every three feet. Also everyone just throws away the directions so let’s not worry about making those useful or even readable.”
    I have to believe their intentions are good. Malicious people wouldn’t give you the option of ocean sounds.

  • I feel your pain too. It’s taken me 3 years and I still lose my mind trying to change the clock in my car – twice-a-freaking-year. My goal now is to have it down pat by the time I hit the 10 year mark. I’m wishing you better luck than that.

  • The only clock we have that has to be manually set is the one in the dashboard of Briana’s car, and it’s always wrong because the battery goes dead when the car is buried in a snow bank for weeks at a time.
    Well that and I hesitate to remind her that it’s wrong when we’re in the car in case she decides to reset it while she’s driving the fucking car. I guess I can look online and find out how to reset it and do so while she’s in Grocery Outlet getting hummus.
    I had an art-deco clock radio that was my alarm clock for years and years. It was white and sort of blob-shaped, with numbers that flip over when they change. I don’t know what ever happened to that clock radio, but I have a little cheap alarm clock in my Timbuk2 bag that hasn’t been plugged in in years. I also have an alarm clock about the size of a credit card (but fatter) in the bag I keep my medicine in.
    These days I don’t really need an alarm to wake me up, even if I have to be up at a specific time.
    I had a room mate a few years ago who was an opioid user who had his goddamn iPhone alarm so loud that you could hear it outside of the house, and it would just go on and on, cycling through he most obnoxious sounds he could find to have it make until it just finally gave up or he got up, one of the two.
    It woke me the fuck up for the first week or so, then after that I just went “Oh, it’s time for John to go to work.” and fell right back to sleep.
    Good luck with the alien directions, and here is a prayer for mercy to the god of shift registers…

  • LMAOROTF! I can relate, when our old Air Conditioner crapped out the new one came with a Fancy Thermostat that does Magical Things that are very complex and need a Degree in High Tech that I will never attain. I miss my old one that just was ‘basic’ and not so ‘extra’. I don’t even use Clocks, I set my Internal Alarm, works like Magic, if I say before Bed that I shall wake up at 5am to ensure the Grandchild gets up for High School, wallah, instinctively I know what time it is and wake up at the exact Hour. How that happens when my Memory Care Issues are exponentially deteriorating rapidly in every other aspect of Life, is one of Life’s many Mysteries. The Man has an Alarm on his Cellphone, practically the only function he knows how to use on it, since he can barely answer a Call on the damned thing. Oddly it sounds like Ballerina Music, so I’m guessing he didn’t choose the Jingle… or it would be some USMC gung-ho Battalion Battle Cry or something. And yeah, get off my Lawn too.

By Michelle


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