~ 24 September 2003 ~

Crying Wolf

As I write this, an alarm is going off in the background. I’m not sure whether or not it’s a car alarm, house alarm, or business alarm, but I’m ninety percent sure that it is a false alarm. In fact, I think that the way we use alarms needs a serious evaluation.

When was the last time you took notice (other than annoyance) of a car alarm going off? I have a hard enough time with the alarm clock by my bed, so I use the “music” setting, which I still have a hard time with. My wife uses the “tone” setting on hers and it seems to have no effect whatsoever…

Try this: the next time you hear a car alarm going off, run out into the parking lot and scream, “There’s a car being stolen! There’s a car being stolen!” You’ll probably be arrested for disturbing the peace, while the offending “alarmist” will go free. People pay no attention to alarms anymore because there are so many of them going off all the time. There is a car in my apartment complex (er, I mean near my estate…) that will sound its alarm whenever it rains hard, which, incidentally, is usually in the middle of the night.

When I was in college there were so many fire drills that absolutely no one would be alarmed if there were a real fire. You may be thinking that the purpose of a fire drill is that no one will be too alarmed, that there might not be a panic. In our case, no one cared when the fire alarm went off. My roomates and I would simply lock the door and stay inside rather than hike down seven flights of stairs, wait for thirty minutes, and then hike back up. Reckless, you might say, but I say that it is reckless to “alarm” us to death. Remember the boy who cried wolf.

The alarm has stopped now–perhaps I should go see if everything is OK…

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