(Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Hawk Harrelson alarm clock, the White Sox’ promotional giveaway on Saturday, May 13, in the event you want to discover the clock for yourself with childlike wonder.)
On a normal morning, I wake up via alarm clock radio. When I need to wake up earlier than usual for good reason -- think a 6 a.m. flight — I bring the cell phone into it, and set the clock radio for a loud blast of between-stations static.
Where does the Hawk Harrelson alarm clock fit in this spectrum of pleasantness? Well, the White Sox sent me one for my amusement in advance of Saturday’s promotion, and here’s what I woke up to this morning:
For those who can’t play video at this time, closed captioning:
YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOOOOOOOOOARD, YES!
Rack ‘em up.
AND THIS BALLGAME IS OVAAAAAAA!
After which it repeats until you do something about it. I’ll incorporate it into my next predawn flight prep and report back later.
Some details: It takes a pair of Birmingham batteries to get it working. Once it’s powered, it has an audible tick. While it has a classic alarm clock shape with functioning metal bells up top, the body is made out of plastic, which means it tips over without a whole lot of force. It might not be safe on high surfaces, or for those who respond to alarms/Harrelson with violent smashes. It has Hawk’s visage on the front — the broken nose is a nice touch — and it’s sponsored by Total Lubricants on the sides, which makes the “greased tee” line conspicuously absent from the clock’s repertoire.
In a dark room, you’ll have to press a button on the back for it to light up. That button also serves as a snooze button, which I discovered when Harrelson started yelling at me again five minutes later (which is sometimes as long as he goes without speaking during innings).
That’s about all there is to it. It repeats the same sequence every time. I wasn’t expecting it to be as tailored to the morning as the promotional video would lead you to believe, but I wouldn’t have minded a deep cut or two aimed at helping one get out of bed. Harrelson chestnuts that come to mind include “C’mon, Timo!” or a “What are you doing, Wegner!” or a story about popping a blood blister with a hot paperclip.
The novelty may wear off quickly, yet it has easy shelf life. Part of it’s the endowment effect, but it’s also a functioning, startling alarm clock that can be used to delight Sox fans who missed out, or to assault Hawk-hating houseguests.
It should age well, too, assuming a free clock can be expected to last a while, because it captures an aspect of the organization in a way that’s not already saturated (see bobbleheads, which I still like, but, yeah). Going backwards, I’d probably pay money for a Bob Elson clock from the 1960s. Then again, Elson’s style doesn’t invoke the same amount of alarm, which is this particular item is great.
Thinking ahead a generation, if I were a young history-minded Sox fan who only heard of Harrelson through word-of-mouth and highlight videos, would I want this? Yes. Hell yes. It’s a promotion that gives you a sense of the time, he wrote before realizing how literal that sounds.