Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Guest Review: Atomic Clock

When Robert Lamn of Chicago sang “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" he made it abundantly clear he was not the owner of an atomic clock.

What is an atomic clock? Let’s break it down. The clock part should be self-explanatory. Atomic requires some deciphering. In this case it is a very liberal definition of the word meaning “sets itself so your lazy ass doesn’t have to.” This is an alternate definition so far ahead of its time it has yet to find its way into dictionaries. I await the day when the atomic clock time servers (Satellite? Radio wave? Let’s be safe and just assume it’s magic) break down leading to thousands of people being late for work.

Since the average consumer is not orchestrating space shuttle launches from their homes, absolute accurate time is not a real priority. For the majority of atomic clock owners, the real perk is in not having to set it during daylight savings time.

Each March, springing forward is never a problem. In our digital age this usually means pushing the hour button once - 5:27 is now 6:27 – and you’re set for eight months. But come that dreaded November day when we must fall back, oh how I shudder to think I’ll have to go all the way through each number before landing on the correct time (and sometimes twice if the clock is fancy enough to know the difference between AM and PM). Because the daunting task of setting every clock in the house can take in excess of seven, eight, or even nine minutes, the time conscious consumer demanded better technology. Thankfully, it has come in the form of the atomic clock

Once only sold at stores featuring useless gadgetry such as glow in the dark inflatable ankle massagers and reversible magnetic paper weights, the atomic clock can now be found just about anywhere. The other day I saw some for sale at a gas station (though in all fairness, it was a relatively upscale gas station).

52 stars. A time keeping device with space age implications I can only begin to imagine… but ultimately pointless if your oven clock is the first clock you see after you roll out of bed (you may want to reconsider your living arraignments. Or at least consider feng shui.)

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