Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Someone who REALLY doesn't do mornings

For some reason, I thought of a story today that I haven't thought of for years.

Terry Byers of Tucson, a friend of mine from years back (well, alright, several decades back), told me about Joe, a guy he lived with in the same dorm on the 3rd or 4th floor in college. Joe was a big guy and strong. He liked to party and he didn't like to get up in the morning. In fact, he didn't like to get up in the morning so much that, when the alarm clock would go off in the morning, if Joe had been out drinking the night before and really wasn't interested in getting out of bed, he would either (a) mash the alarm clock firmly or (b) fling it against the wall. Both methods of shutting off the alarm had the undesired side effect of doing so rather permanently, so every few weeks, Joe would have to march off to the drugstore to pick up a new $4 alarm clock.

After going through perhaps 5 or 6 cheap clocks, Joe decided that he might be less inclined, even in a sub-conscious condition, to destroy a more expensive clock, so he tried a rather expensive clock radio. This worked for a while: knowing that he'd spent $30 on the clock radio, he treated it with somewhat more care and the clock continued to function for two months, a signficant improvement.

My friend Terry decided that he'd add something to the equation, so one evening, Joe came home very late and very drunk. Terry went into Joe's room and moved the clock radio from the nightstand to the corner of the room (which, fortunately, was on an outside wall). Terry also set the alarm for several hours later, then went back to his room and set his alarm so he could get up and witness this.

Morning broke and Terry's alarm went off. He stood in the door of Joe's room and waited. The clock radio went off at the appointed time.

A hand came up from under the covers and, seemingly on its own, was swatting around mechanically on the nightstand looking for the clock radio and (more importantly) the Off button. No luck. Terry chuckled at this and said "It's not there, Joe." The hand paused in mid-air. "It's over in the corner, Joe."

The hand retreated under the covers. Nothing happened for a moment, then Joe suddenly sat up in bed with a snub-nosed revolver in his hand and fired three shots at the clock radio. They all connected. The clock radio went silent. Joe--still completely asleep--threw the covers back over his head, his arm, and the pistol, and went back to sawing logs. Terry, in shock, backed quiiiiiiiiietly out of the room and cloooooosed the door vewwy, vewwy cawefuwwy and crept back down the hall to his room.

Late that same day, Joe woke up on his own volition and surveyed the damage. He went down to Terry's room and said "Terry, what happened to my clock radio?" Terry, who was studying and trying to look small at the same time said "You... shot it, Joe," in a rather small voice. Joe looked thoughtful and said "I thought that's what happened but I didn't remember for sure," and he walked off.

After that, Joe went back to buying $4 alarm clocks every few weeks and Terry never, ever played with Joe's alarm settings ever again.


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