Premorrow, Aprilcot 10, 41 A.B.

"In Italy under the Borgias they had warfare, terror,
murder, bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo,
Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance.  In
Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had five
hundred years of democracy and peace.
And what did they produce?
The cuckoo-clock."

- Orson Welles, "The Third Man" (1949)


     We put up a cuckoo clock in our living room yesterday.  We inherited it several years ago, but it wasn't until yesterday that we got around to deciding to put it up.
     They're not exactly in fashion these days, I know.
     How out of fashion are they?  A Yahoo search for "virtual cuckoo clock" yields exactly 0 hits.
     No matter.  We put it up anyway.  Although it clashes with the CD stereo system right next to it, I like to imagine it putting a big smile on the face of my Woodstock PEZ dispenser, and that's really all that matters to me.

     If we'd inherited a painting by Michelangelo or Leonardo, would I have put that up instead?
     I don't think so.
     For one thing, Renaissance artwork would clash with our stereo and the New Age Electronica I play on it even more.
     For another, you can't tell whether or not it's time for the news by looking at a painting no matter how good it might be.
     And then, of course, there are all those security problems.  Say what you will about cuckoo clocks, it's a reasonably safe bet that no one's gonna break into our house just to steal ours away while we're out getting more food for our cat.
     And if they do, it's gonna be a lot harder for them to be quiet about it than it would be if they were merely swiping a bit of framed oil on canvas....

     There was a time when I actually went out and bought a cuckoo clock for myself, or at least asked for one for my birthday.  I can still recall the irresistible black-and-white ad in the newspaper revealing that all the charm of the Black Forest could be mine for a mere $19.95.  I was 12 at the time - maybe 13 - and a little bird that popped out and made noise every half-hour seemed like the perfect distraction from the Vietnam War to my hormone-addled brain as it waded into puberty.
     Little did I know that it would see me through Watergate, too.
     Thank goodness!
     Had I not had the foresight to get a cuckoo clock into the house before that mess broke, I just don't know what I'd tell today's kids when they run up to me and ask, "Hey, Geezer!  How'd you ever get through the early '70s without a Game Boy??"
     Since my mother refused to allow a single lava lamp into the house back then, I'm afraid I simply wouldn't be around today to answer....

     Which for some reason makes me wonder:  Did pre-20th century Swiss and Germans sit and stare at their cuckoo clocks when they dropped acid?  Or were candles and incense from the East enough for those simpler people of a simpler age? 

     And if you think they didn't drop acid back then, well, what the heck else might have inspired anyone to come up with the idea of the cuckoo clock in the first place?  180-proof  sauerkraut?

     Having just had some high-octane refreshment myself, I'm further moved to wonder how much more difficult yesterday's clock hanging might have been had the Eskimos or African natives been the ones to come up with the idea.
     Penguin clocks?
     Ostrich clocks??
     The mind reels....

     Fortunately, it's almost time for my little friend to magically reappear and chase away all my fears with his song.
     I better go make sure my videocamera is all set so I can enjoy the moment again and again and again.
     Even in super slo-mo.
     *Wild, anticipatory wooooo-hooooos!*


Back To The First Day
Of My Born Again Cuckoodom


Forward To An Entry
Possibly Written To The Ticking
Of A Cuckoo Wristwatch


(©When The Little Hand's On The 11 And The Big Hand's On The 10 by Dan Birtcher)