It’s a sad day in the Oral Hygiene household. The chicken is dead.
The chicken is an alarm clock. I’m sorry… was
an alarm clock. As you can see, he’s lost the arms on the face of his clock, making him just a jolly, rock-n-rolling shell of his former time-keeping self.
I have to admit, I haven’t always loved the chicken as he deserved to be loved. I did not choose him. He was a gift, and a gift I didn’t appreciate much at first. Initially, I thought he was kind of horrifying-looking, and when I heard him sing, I quickly decided I hated him. The chicken’s alarm, you see, is a song. A maniacally cheerful, disturbingly mechanized song. Imagine a simple rock riff as interpreted by a hurdy-gurdy, and floating above it a prominent vocal track sounding something like Robin Williams as Mork from Ork if Mr. Williams had recently sucked a large hit of helium. The song goes like this:
Wow!!! Yeeeeaah!!! Hey baby wake up!!! Come and dance with meeeeeeeee!!!
The song goes like that. Over and over and over and over, into infinity, until the battery wears out or someone slams their hand into the chicken’s coxcomb, thus shutting off the alarm.
So I hated the chicken. His song was so annoying. And the creepy combination of rosy cheeks and “cool” sunglasses made his face look like Jimmy Buffet in clown make-up. He seemed to me to have a smugly expectant look on his face, a look that said “Hey baby, I know I’m 20 years older than you, I have a beer belly, and all I can play on this teal guitar is cheesy bar blues, but you know
you can’t resist my shades and red goatee/wattle. C’mon over here and sit on daddy’s lap.” I just didn’t like him.
But I found him useful. I hate getting up early, and back before I had kids, I had a dangerous addiction to the snooze bar. The chicken had no snooze bar, and his song was so annoying, and so very very loud (he had two volumes: merely obnoxious and downright deafening) that on some mornings, it was the only thing that would get my ass out of a warm bed and into the cold morning air. I would place my regular, snooze-bar-equipped, laziness-enabling alarm clock next to my bed, and the chicken across the room. It wasn’t a pleasant system, but it worked.
Once O. was born, I no longer needed such a grating back-up alarm clock. I had a little alarm clock with a very loud alarm and no snooze bar right there in my bed. At some point the chicken migrated to the bathroom, serving as a simple timepiece rather than an alarm clock. And somewhere along the line my feelings for him softened. Maybe because he was no longer ripping me out of bed with his horrible song, maybe because I was mellowing with age. For whatever reason, I began seeing him as a bit of cheery kitsch innocence rather than an icon of cheesy middle-aged masculinity.
And then, a couple days ago, in one of those domestic mishaps that arise from tired parents trying to do two things at once while simultaneously holding a squirming baby, I knocked the chicken from his high shelf in the bathroom onto the unforgiving tiles. His inner workings spilled out, and when I picked him up to try to piece him back together, the hands fell off his clock. I knew his days as a clock were over. Now he’s just a chotchke sitting on the basement shelf overlooking the rock set-up. Maybe he’s happier there, where the music happens. But without his clock workings and without his song, he just doesn’t seem himself.
But thanks to the sturdiness of his plastic visage, he remains undaunted. And still, now that I look at him, pretty creepy. In a lovable way.