Time For Someone To Get A Life?

by Calendar Hacksaw

Bounding from my bed with a bloated bladder in the pre-dawn hours of what seemed like an otherwise ordinary Tuesday morning, I lurched through the darkness in search of the bathroom while blindly bouncing off furnishings, doors and walls, leaving behind an evidence trail of blood and ripped flesh reminiscent of a Hitchcock thriller. It was only when comfortably situated that I realized something was terribly wrong. The nightlight wasnít on, and the reassuring glow of the digital clock on the window sill was noticeably absent. The lack of any illumination whatsoever strongly suggested that Iíd been struck blind during the night, or our house had suffered a rare power outage. Suddenly, the roar of a strong gust of wind brought with it the realization that I was indeed still among the visually-enabled, and that a major storm had caused a blackout. What a relief.

One of these days, I thought, Iím going to invent a nightlight that not only has a battery back-up, but also functions as a flashlight, knife and coffee maker when unplugged from the outlet. But, then I decided that had probably already been done, so I moved on.

There I sat, faithful reader (as though this has never happened to you), warming the seat and pondering my options. I was faced with both a dilemma and a logistical challenge. Somehow, I would need to find my way back to the bedroom.

Twice relieved, I followed the smell of blood and retrieved the trusty Mini MagLite from next to my pillow. The one with the dead batteries.

Still consumed by overwhelming darkness, stupidity and self-pity, I decided it would be safer to crawl on the floor, rather than risk walking upright. This tactical decision led to some nasty head wounds (Note to author: crawl backwards next time), but did get me to the wall furnace in the hallway, where Betty keeps a small stash of matches for igniting the pilot light.

Closing the cover before striking, as recommended, I lit the first of many matches that would ultimately help me blaze a path through the house and out to the garage, pausing just long enough to check the time on my amazing new clock. It was 4:30 a.m., time to get up and go to work. My internal clock had not let me down. But, first, I would need time to find both solace and emergency supplies. And some beer and bandages.

Once inside the car barn, I had immediate access to my 4-cell flashlight, which lit up the night quite well and allowed me to better inspect the burn injuries to my fingers and thumb. Thank goodness for duct tape and WD-40.

Emergency officials are constantly badgering us good people to stockpile enough supplies in order to be totally self-sufficient for 72 hours in times of crisis. I suspect this is intended to give those same officials ample time to leave the country before we find out how little preparation theyíve accomplished on our behalf.

My garage functions as a bomb shelter, protecting me from anything shy of an actual bomb. Pretty much anything I need can be found easily, and on this particular morning I thought it might be a good idea to turn on the radio to see just how serious the storm might be. But alas, I didnít seem to have a battery-powered radio handy. When I related this to Betty some hours later, she ticked off a list of at least four such garage-stored radios I could have put my hands on in an instant. I guess my mind gets a little foggy under stress.

Betty had recently bought me a rechargeable fluorescent lantern for use in the outhouse on the mountain, and I had wisely brought this new, life-saving appliance to a full 16-hour charge on my first day of ownership. Fetching this marvelous device, I took false comfort in thinking that I would have sufficient illumination to shower, shave and dress.

However, and I canít stress enough the word "however," I soon learned that a fluorescent lantern is capable of lighting a doghouse or a one-man pup tent, nothing more. Put that same lantern in a full-size bathroom, and you have the luminescent equivalent of a single match, minus the third degree burns.

In spite of the virtual darkness, I managed to shower, shave off most of my face, get dressed in only three tries, and comb my hair in such a fashion that 30 minutes later the service station attendant refused to sell me gasoline (Note to author: wear a hat on bad hair days).

I should make mention here, and I will, that for Christmas my boss presented me with a very nice atomic clock. Heís an immigrant from Eastern Europe, and over breakfast one morning he recited the old adage that "a man who has 100 clocks never knows what time it is, while a man with only one clock always knows the time."

Does your boss talk like that? Over breakfast?

Perhaps he was only suggesting that my chronic tardiness was a growing concern. But in a very short period of time I have come to cherish my atomic clock, even though its spaceship-like design hardly fits in with our early American hippie/cowboy décor. It sits atop the mantle and literally shouts for attention, with its constant oversized display of time to the second, day, date, humidity, and indoor/outdoor temperatures.

Have I mentioned that the clock receives a time signal broadcast by WWVB on 60 kHz from the National Institute for Standards and Technology in Fort Collins, Colorado, and deviates less than one second in 3,000 years? And, that your hard-earned tax dollars are paying for this important service? Thank you!

As a result of this phenomenal accuracy, I have become a "time elitist." I ask friends what time theyíve got, and if it doesnít match up with mine I decide to hate them for the cooties and boogerfaces that they are. Which just proves the assertion that everything I needed to know, I learned in kindergarten.

The lights came back on just a few minutes before 6:00. I took one last look in the mirror, enjoyed a cheap laugh at my own expense, and headed out to meet the day, exactly on time.

Calendar Hacksaw will gladly give you the time of day at calendarhacksaw@highdesert.com, and he thinks the officers of the local bank should be held criminally liable whenever the time and temperature signs arenít correct. After all, this isnít a game weíre playing here.

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