Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 446 (198)  Alarm Clocks and the News

This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery. I've entitled this podcast "Rant: Alarm Clocks and the News"

Retirement meant I could destroy my alarm clock. I never did like alarm clocks.  I mean, what a way to start the day? “Alarm” what does that word mean? Get ready for trouble. Watch out. Danger’s close. Is your job or your life that bad? Is this anyway to start each day? “The British are coming. The British are coming.” For many of us Paul Revere rides every day.

Alarms should ring when your house is on fire; when an intruder breaks in; when someone robs a bank. Given a choice I would rather start the day in a gentle fashion – say birds chirping, soft music, waves gently lapping at the shore.

I know people who wake up to the news. A clock radio sits by the bed. I suppose a lot of people start their day this way. Maybe they even have clock televisions that wake people. They probably do. War, pestilence, fire and famine – mixed with weather alerts, advertising and market reports. How many of us need to know the big winners and losers on Wall Street - on a daily basis? I can’t imagine starting a day with an alarm radio or television.

In the “good old” days news traveled slowly. A person might hear of a tragic epidemic, a multiple murder and suicide, or of a gigantic beast headed your way ever so rarely. News was limited. People would take it in doses spaced out over time.. The rest of life could be live in peace. But today – bad news come like a daily blizzard. Fear and anxiety sell are reaffirmed every waking hour starting for many before their feet ever hit the floor.

A lot of electronic news is boringly repetitious. “The President does this. The senate or house does this”. Then the same report is repeated all day long, week long or even for months. Arguments are made over one thing or another and repeated and repeated and repeated. Why should we spend time listening to the inane chatter?

I like to take my news in print. I can read it, skip it, pause, stop, start, and consider if I want to go on. I can also take it in my own space and time. I can of course never take news before lunch.  At least my morning can be pleasant – without interference from politicians, criminals, or corporations inserting themselves into my breakfast and morning coffee? I should be entitled to read a few pages from a novel, listen or play some music, go out for a walk or bike ride – look at a few flowers or the sky without images of “news” filtering and staining my vision.

I don’t want to imply that one shouldn’t keep informed about the community, state, country or world. It is just the method with which I take issue. In a recent telephone conversation after finding out that we didn’t have a television the other person on the end of the line seriously said, “But how are you going to get the news”? I found that question as strange as she probably found my statement that we didn’t have a television.

There are many places one can go for a news fix today. As for me, I scan the local paper – just to check community type stuff and familiar names – this only takes a few minutes. And there are a couple of local weekly newspapers that are worth a few minutes a couple of days a week.  Then there is the The New York Times. It is cheap, current and of course – it is the paper of record even if the far right has done what it can to smear it over the last twenty years. Plus it is digital and it feels good to bypass paper wasting old fashioned newsprint. I have a couple of  magazines that I read regularly on line. And of course there are all of the newsletters from various organizations. The reading list seems long but I try to limit time spent on this effort to “keep informed. I skip lots of stuff.

As for radio, NPR has suffered such a political beating and budget cut barrage that it barely limps along as a weak reminder of days gone by. Since we live and spend almost one-half of our time in Canada we are use to having the CBC as a source of information. NPR pales in comparison. We are often commenting, “You would never here this on NPR”.

I must admit that there are some shows on NPR that can be very informative and entertaining. I can get them on air or via their podcasts, I must have six or so of them that I follow.

So there you have it - my rant about alarms, alarm clocks, and the news. I don’t mean to pontificate – I just mean to rant.

This is Retirement Talk with something to think about. What wakes you on a daily basis? How do you get your news? Do you control it? it might be worth giving it a bit of consideration.

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