Jewish World Review Nov. 18, 2002 / 13 Kislev, 5763

David Grimes

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Consumer Reports

Intrigued by a German invention that could get teens out of bed before the crack of noon | One of the many cruelties of high school is that classes begin at 7:30 a.m., a time when most teen-agers are a full four hours away from being completely awake.

Getting our 16-year-old out of the sack for his 7 a.m. ride is a daily chore. (No self-respecting 16-year-old would deign to ride the school bus. Please.) It helps that his mom teaches at the high school and gets up at 5:30 a.m. From under the covers, I can hear the alarms go off in ascending order: "Michael, time to get up."

(Ten minutes later.) "Michael! You're going to be late! Get up!"

(Ten more minutes later.) "MICHAEL! GET OUT OF BED THIS MINUTE!!!!"

Alarm clocks are of no use. Neither, apparently, is a clock radio tuned to a 90-decibel heavy-metal station. We have tried sicking the dog on him, but it just winds up being overcome by the somnolent vapors that fill the room and falls asleep by his side.

That is why I am so intrigued by a German invention that could, conceivably, solve the problem of how to get our son out of bed before the crack of noon.

Dubbed the "merciless bed" (I love it already), the mattress starts to gradually rise after the alarm rings. After five minutes, the mattress is tilted at an angle sufficient to tumble the sleepyhead onto the floor.

Interestingly, and perhaps rather traitorously, the tilting bed was invented by a 16-year-old girl, Iris Koser. The news story did not mention whether Iris invented the tilting bed out of personal need or spite, but, either way, it sounds like something that could have a place in homes like mine.

I would even roust myself out of bed at 6:30 in the morning just to watch the 16-year-old being slowly tilted into a standing position and then somersault onto the floor. (He wouldn't get hurt. His fall would be broken by the foot-deep pile of clothes that covers the floor.)

The only question is whether pitching him onto the floor would be enough to wake him up. We might have to modify the bed so that it also throws a bucket of cold water on him and perhaps pokes him a couple of times with a cattle prod.

The bed might also be useful for dealing with unwanted house guests. You could situate the bed so that it faces the door, maybe tighten the spring a twist or two, and come 6 a.m. - sproing! - out they fly onto the front yard.

Clearly, the merciless bed has great potential in the American household, even in homes that don't contain teen-agers. In fact, if they came out with a model that included the cold-water feature and the cattle prod, I'd buy one right now.

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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© 2002, Sarasota Herald Tribune