Friday, November 11, 2022


‘Time’ … for a Story



Clocks have been around since the beginning of time. In 1671, people had to carry around huge clocks if they wanted to know what time it was. At some point, it became grandpa’s job to carry the clock when everyone went out; that is how the Grandfather Clock got its name. The family told ole gramps that if he forgot to wind the clock when it stopped--his heart would also stop. (He was a tad senile). The family wasn’t trying to be cruel; it was just that with so few entertainment options available, messing with old folks was like watching our modern-day sitcoms.

In the old days you had a lot of old people hanging around, as nursing homes were not well established, and only legally registered Eskimos were allowed to leave their elderly on an ice flow to be eaten by polar bears. After Spain sold Florida to the U.S., back in 1819, families flocked there for vacations. The primary reason for Florida’s phenomenal growth in its elderly population was because when Gramps and Granny were in Stuckey’s trying to decide whether to buy a ten-pound pecan nut roll, Mom and Dad, threw the young’uns in the station wagon and made for the Georgia border like a scalded dog.

Eventually someone decided that watches needed to have a computer inside. I will never forget the first time I saw a digital watch at a store. It retailed for $350.00. That was equal to a year of my wages, probably. I spent my paycheck so fast I had no real way of knowing. It did not matter I had to have this watch. Every day I would stop at the store and look at it, leaving my finger and lip prints on the display case. The same technology that put a man on the moon was in this watch. That meant the same technology had been obsolete at NASA and Casio for years. The watch was chrome and oh so shinny. It had a black face and, on the side, [are you ready for this] a button, not a stem, a button. No more winding, those days were gone, we were talking high tech, cutting-edge stuff here. Wearing it would surely bring me all the happiness and fulfillment I so desperately craved. At least, that is what it said in the brochure.

Scrimping and saving, it took a long time but eventually I had saved enough to get the watch out of lay-away. I couldn’t have been more excited if I had grown a second appendage! Rushing home, I got out the owner’s manual - the size of a major city’s phone book and started reading. Two days later I was ready to set the watch. First, I had to press the button with one hand, twist a knob with the other and find something small enough to stick in a tiny hole in the back all at the same time. After forty attempts the time was set.

Speaking of time, by the time I had gotten the money to get the watch out of layaway there had been a few advancements in digital timepieces. Now watches were also: stop-watches; alarm clocks; count-down timers; measured your pulse; glowed in the dark; took your temperature; received satellite signals from outer space; played music from three radio stations; and automatically adjusted the time to the atomic clock at Los Alamos within a half second every 1,000 years. My watch …when I pressed the button, the time glowed in red.

Signed: Grizzly 'out of time' Gus

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