The clock Monday September 10, 2007, 3 comments

I wrote this ages ago, but only recently rediscovered it.

When I was little, I was given a digital clock.

Keep in mind this was the 1970’s, so “digital” back then meant the way the numbers were displayed, not the way the clock worked. The clock would display the time in standard 12-hour digital notation (it’s North America, after all) in two different sections, and every minute, the right-hand panel would flip from top to bottom and reveal the next minute. Every hour the left-hand one would flip to display the new hour. Imagine two tiny rolodexes, size by side.

It was a really ingenious system, basically requiring only two motorized parts – one to flip the minute panel and one to flip the hour. I remember when I got it, being so excited. I think it was the Christmas when I was five. I was totally and utterly amazed by this clock. I remember plugging it in, puzzling through the manual, and figuring out how to set the time.

That night, flush with pride, I lay in my bed staring at the clock. My room was illuminated by the warm orange glow of its light. It even had a radio, which i had set to a local AM radio station, and had set it to turn on at seven the next morning.

And so, as happens to all children, I got sleepy. In those days, I could fall asleep in an instant. And so, to sleep I went. And woke up one minute later when the sound of the right side panel flipping over crashed through my room as if someone had taken a hammer to the wall.

Eight sleepless hours later, sister and I traded clocks – she had received an old-style two-bell alarm clock that Christmas, and its red shell graced my bedside that night.

And that night, I lay in my bed. I didn’t stare at the clock – this one wasn’t illuminated by a luscious orange glow. And as happens to all children, I got sleepy.

Down into sleep I’d drift. CRACK! – back up into consciousness the tick of the second hand would bring me.

I bless the day true solid-state clocks, with their silent time display became the norm. If a tap is dripping in the washroom, even if its two floors away, I can hear the water hitting the porcelain.

I’m a very light sleeper. Five was too young to learn that.


Jorge Wednesday September 12, 2007

Did you have a clown bed?

Adrian Wednesday September 12, 2007

No. No clown bed.

Clowns are evil.

Jorge Wednesday September 12, 2007

I remember those orange flip clocks, man.

I used to grab the time adjustment knob and spin the hell out of the thing.

Was awesome.

When I first read this, though, I misread it as “watch” and I wondered how the hell strong you must have been to hold up something that big on your wrist.

Commenting has ended for this post, but I'd still love to hear from you.

The website of Adrian Lebar

A Rain of Frogs is written, designed and built by Adrian Lebar, a twenty(!) year veteran of web design and development. He is currently managing web and mobile development teams at Canada’s largest and most beloved classifieds site, Kijiji!

He is a father, sailor, snowboarder, skier, cyclist, writer, artist, graphic designer, classically trained musician and afraid of heights.

Adrian is not currently available for freelance and contract work. Learn more.

Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
- Steve Jobs


  • I remember designing and building the original Playdium website in 1996 (I have screen caps somewhere of the work w… Wednesday October 14, 2020
  • Enough of this, 2020, already. Eddie Van Halen, rest easy, man. Tuesday October 6, 2020
  • It is amazing how quickly one adjusts to their glasses constantly steaming up, isn’t it? Monday October 5, 2020
  • Seriously, no amount of ‘weird tricks that Warren Buffet uses’ are going to improve anyone’s life. Friday September 25, 2020
  • Was just pondering about how both writing and programming can rewrite your brain, and came to the following, which… Friday September 18, 2020
  • Sony was, like, one front dial away from converting me over to their Full Frame cameras. One dial. Monday September 14, 2020
  • Tuesday August 25, 2020
  • @mrmatthogg You certainly want to work with him. Tuesday May 12, 2020
  • @mrmatthogg Lately you sound like me 3 years ago, failing agains the profligate use of users bandwidth and computin… Monday May 11, 2020