For a variety of reasons, one of my favorite songs by the widely derided group Maroon 5 has been their early song “Wake Up Call.” This particular song was a top twenty hit from their second album, “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long,” and shows an early example of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine showing himself to be unsympathetic in his dealing with his woman problems. The song deals rather melodramatically with a tale of Levine having sudden come upon his partner in flagrante delicto and shooting the paramour dead and trying to justify the complex feelings that result from his lust for his unfaithful partner, his disgust at her unfaithfulness, and the realization of his own intense jealousy and anger. Many of these elements would be explored in later songs about relationship drama where Levine increasingly felt comfortable presenting himself as a somewhat unsympathetic figure in these problems. It is, of course, unclear why it was that he arrived at home early in the morning to catch his partner cheating in the song, as it reveals the possibility that he himself had been involved in his own unfaithful acts but was able to leave them in enough time to catch his partner for her own. Not all wake up calls are welcome.
As someone who has traveled a lot, it has been my experience to receive a great many wake-up calls from hotel staff. At times the staff has made the calls themselves personally, which is always appreciated, especially when it is the early morning staff making a call when an early flight must be caught. Sometimes, though, the hotel uses an automated system where the customer programs the time he wants an automated call and then gets up and gets ready. In at least one case in my experience, it would have been good for the hotel to conduct a wake-up call for themselves, as after having charged my parents and I for taxi services early the next morning when we headed to the airport, the hotel staff was neither awake the next morning nor was the taxi service, leaving us to improvise at the last minute so that we were barely able to avoid missing our flight and had to pay for a second trip to the airport . It strikes this traveler as particularly corrupt that a hotel would charge for transportation that was not provided in advance, among many other issues with their shady billing procedures, but it is worthwhile to note that wake-up calls are similarly issues that can present problems when they are not equitably distributed.
When one is receiving a wake-up call, it helps when that wake-up call is given by someone who is a sympathetic figure. For a great many years, the late actor Wilford Brimley, best known as a character actor in movies like “The Natural” as well as for his role as a commercial spokesperson, served as the face for a diabetes awareness campaign that has not only served as the inspiration for memes but also served as a wake-up call for many people in handling their chronic condition. As a longtime sufferer of type 2 diabetes, and with the sort of winsome personality that tended to inspire fondness from others, he was well-placed to give advice about the need to keep the disease in check. And though he suffered from diabetes for more than 40 years after his diagnosis, he was able to live a long and productive life nonetheless, and remains a figure that is thought of and remembered fondly by those who have seen him in commercials as well as his acting work.
A great many people desire to wake up sleepers, but sometimes enough attention is not paid to the motives in which we seek to do so. If it is not in fact necessary for someone to be woken up, it is best to let sleep continue. We can all too easily try to wake up others for selfish motives and not think of how it was or was not necessary for us to act as we did. As is often the case, a sense of empathy can help us to develop appropriate thinking about how it is that we want to wake up people in either a literal or a figurative sense. As a child, and even to this day, I have not always been a pleasant person to wake up and from early on my family adopted various means of avoiding my wrath at having my sleep disturbed while waking me up because we had to leave early to go to some place or another. Because of my own disinclination to be woken up, especially in a sudden and drastic fashion, I have similarly been compassionate about letting others sleep, but even those who have much less irritation than I do at having their sleep interrupted can at least engage in the act of imagining how it would be to be irritated at being woken up and then to act graciously in response. Sadly, such graciousness and moral imagination appears to be very limited in this present age. To share enlightenment with others we must wake up ourselves, after all.
 See, for example: