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A bizarre (and frightening) wakeup call

When people ask me -- "What time do you go to sleep?" -- I usually joke that I never fall asleep, I just pass out from exhaustion at the end of the day.

Tonight, I happened to be on the couch, vegging in front of the TV, when the Sandman came. (It wasn't Adam Sandler, though I've fallen asleep in front of his movies before).

Anyway, I think I was just about to enter the REM stage when the folks who run Time Warner and/or my local station decided it was time to run a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.

There was a series of staccato beeps, followed by a tone and an announcement that sounded like it came from Charlie Brown's teacher -- all delivered at about five times the barely-audible volume that had allowed me to drift into slumber during the second of two "Seinfeld" reruns.

Needless to say, I shot up off the couch and turned down the volume. Now, I'm wide awake and returning some work e-mails.

It dawns on me that the EBS test is the most effective, and perhaps most frightening, wakeup call I've received in years. Maybe the folks who run it are in the wrong line of work.

Sweet dreams, Milwaukee... provided you didn't fall asleep in front of the TV.



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