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Clocking on 

I'm convinced. If I just had the right alarm clock, it would be a whole lot easier to wake up in the morning. You see my reasoning here, of course: wake up more easily, have a better day, be a better me. BAM! Get the right clock and all my problems are solved.

Enter Clocky.

Clocky is a digital alarm clock with rugged rubber wheels. You program the wake-up time like you would with any other clock. Clocky beeps you. You hit snooze. (Of course you do. Doesn't everyone?) But if you try it again, Clocky jumps off the nightstand and rolls away, beep-beep-beeping to get you out of bed. You have to get up and find him to make him shut up.

No shit.

Now that, I thought, when I found Clocky at NandaHome.com, is it. All my problems solved.

But the week before, my ticket to a perfect life was the Zen Alarm Clock.

I saw the ad flipping through the Shambhala Sun. Eureka!

The Zen Alarm Clock pooh-poohs Clocky's mischievous mind-fucking ways. It wakes you with a single gentle chime. Then three-and-a-half minutes later there's another. The gonging increases in frequency over 10 minutes until it's chiming every five seconds. It doesn't stop until you turn it off. Waking up (dread, denial, frustration) would never be the same again. Ohmmm.

"Your body really doesn't need to be awakened harshly," Now-Zen.com tells me, "with a Zen Clock you're awakened more gradually and thus more naturally."

(Makes Clocky, sold by his handlers as "kind of like a misbehaving pet," sound like the anti-Christ.)

Clocky and Zen—like good and evil comic book twins—are two in a long line of wake-up mechanisms I've either coveted or bought and ditched. And their conflicting approaches to waking up isn't really so remarkable to me, nor, I suspect, to anyone else who's spent his or her entire adult life trying to find a way not to loathe being called from slumber into the world.

I used to have a twin-bell wind-up clock that buzzed me from snoozeland like a hornet's nest had been dropped by god onto my pillow. I've had red-glowing '80s-style clock-radios set on CBC Radio Two classical and later on the worse commercial morning shows I could seek out. I've had droning old-school flip-number clocks, a Marvin the Martian alarm (Massive! Like 10 inches high, at least!) that pointed a ray-gun and woke me with a nasal "Time to wake up, Earthling, or I'll vaporize you...time to wake up, Earthling...."

These days, I have a simple Sony Dream Machine clock radio, a hand-me-down received after I cracked—went literally half-insane—trying to use my old clock, which had the beneficial-sounding feature of myriad "soothing sounds"—heartbeat, rain and jungle among them.

I used to set it to play a mind-drillingly repetitive rain track for an hour while I was falling asleep (Why, I don't know. I've never had trouble dozing off. I could fall asleep standing up on a bus in high heels). Aside from its lullaby-uselessness, was this fact: Whatever sound you set it to sleep with, would be the sound it woke you with. Perhaps you've noticed rain is not an effective noise to stir someone from sleep.

(Kind of makes me question the efficacy of the gently gonging Zen Clock, now that I come to think of it. Of course, Clocky isn't without his drawbacks; what if he jumped off the bed and rolled right out of my bedroom and down the stairs?)

I could try new waking-up techniques. I've searched out plenty. Blogger Vincent Cheung sets one quiet alarm and one harsh alarm to go off later. Other bloggers say to get everything electric automatically turned on in your house right when want to be up, or to get a stand-up comedy video on a screen you can see from your pillow and set breakfast the night before on your bedside table.

Personal development adviser Steve Pavlina says on his website that I should just practice getting up as soon as the alarm goes off. Thanks Steve, buddy.

Or, I guess I could forget the clock.

Reason tells me that I wouldn't have so much trouble waking up if I just got enough sleep. Nah, that can't be right. I must need a new alarm clock that jumps off the nightstand and runs away from me.

I'm sure that'll work.

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