How to Stop Your Smoke Detector From Chirping


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  1. Lie inconsolable in bed for 10-30 minutes at 4:30 AM, unable to process that something like this would even happen to a good person like you.
  2. Wait furious in the intervals of silence, timing how frequently the chirps ring out. Know that this information will be irrelevant to finding a solution, only giving you a 30 second time frame for your thrashes of rage.
  3. Consider burning your apartment down, just to teach this little smoke detector that if it wants to play with the big boys it better bring the heat.
  4. Find your smoke detector and stare it down with villainy. Let it know it’s angered it’s God, and that the flood’s a ‘coming.
  5. Stand on a chair and let the smoke detector’s chirp shatter your eardrum, and your spirit, as you analyze the nostalgia of its 2002 technology.
  6. Press one of the two buttons on the device, have nothing happen, feel foolish, and rethink your standard of living.
  7. Press the second button, accidently activating the alarm. This will help you spread your hate to everyone with ears and high blood pressure, all while throwing you to the ground in shock, as if this piece of hell plastic knows about your sciatica.
  8. Use the blunt force trauma of your middle class lifestyle to silence the smoke detector.
  9. Do not take time to relish in this small victory.
  10. Pull the smoke detector from the ceiling and become panicked as you see more than two wires, exceeding the knowledge you’ve garnered from hooking up an Xbox.
  11. Look upon the small, sunflower yellow canary that skips it’s way out of your ceiling.
  12. Listen to it chirp it’s chirp as you explore the guilty pit in your stomach, having only seconds ago been willing to sub in for Sisyphus for the chance to squash what was apparently a lonely bird’s cry for help.
  13. Ask yourself, “When did you stop caring for others?”
  14. Call the canary “Peter Pretty Bird”, just to see if he likes it.
  15. Notice that Peter is withered from his time in your ceiling, and set aside a small bowl of sunflower seeds and milk for him on the table.
  16. Watch Peter feast heartily, causing you to question how something can be so happy about so little. Here’s this bird with nothing, just having braved a cold, cramped, unfortunately asbestos filled environment, and yet he’s happier than you’ve been in weeks.
  17. Tell yourself you’re no caged bird.
  18. Get your laptop and bring it back to Peter, not feeling comfortable without his soft, heavenly chirps bristling your ears.
  19. Buy a plane ticket to Fiji, it’s time you took that trip you always talk about. But first show Peter some pictures of canaries online, just to see if he reacts to any of them.
  20. Giggle as Peter thinks the pictures are real canaries, and know nature is wonderful.
  21. Hear a loud chirp.
  22. Look at Peter, perched stoically on your heartstrings.
  23. Exactly 30 seconds later, hear another chirp.
  24. Look to the smoke detector, and pray to whatever God you know.
  25. Hear a loud chirp.
  26. Wish death.
  27. Breakdown mentally, realizing only thirty seconds passed in the time it took to take Peter out of the ceiling and book a trip you can’t go on. You have work, you have responsibilities, sciatica, what were you thinking?
  28. Glance to Peter, the bird who knew the whole time. He just wanted out of the ceiling. He didn’t want to fix the problem. He just used you. Used you like all the rest of them. He’s not a pretty bird. He’s a dirty, dirty bird!
  29. Jump punch the smoke detector like it’s your apartment’s uvula and you’re praying for a furniture upchuck.
  30. Get the kerosene. Get it all.
  31. Disregard the fact that you live in a Manhattan Midtown apartment, keep pouring that purifying gas.
  32. Stare emotionless at Peter, a match in hand, and ask for a reason not to.
  33. Hear a loud chirp.
  34. Notice this chirp lacks the mechanical aggression of the others, and know that it came from Peter.
  35. Think, “If this little bird can be so happy, and he wants me to stick around, surely I can be that happy too.”
  36. Let Peter fly upon your shoulder.
  37. Drop the match as you leave.
  38. Board a one-way flight to Fiji with Peter in your pocket.
  39. Look forward to life again.
  40. Hear a loud chirp.
  41. Tell Peter “That’s not funny Petey.”
  42. Watch Peter shrug the shoulders you didn’t know he had, and know nature is wonderful.

Luke Strickler is a student at NYU Tisch. He’s written for Mcsweeney’s, Above Average, and Mashable. You can see his writing at

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