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Title:What Ever Happened To [...] #1017
Date:Friday October 26th, 2012
[Default Article Image][Good Aftermourning, my fiends! Hey, it's almost Halloween; and so, boos & ghouls, y'all must be "fiends," eh? Anyway, again it's Bad Joke Friday and I have nothing for ya. Which is precisely why I'm upchucking the following instead. Happy All Hallows' Eve, everyone! And wherever you're running tomorrow, just remember: I won't be running with you. I'll be sauntering. Toting my trick-or-treat bag and wearing my "special costume" of an overweight frumpy white lute-plucking song-and-dance man still stuck in the Middle Ages.]

The Reagan Administraction Presents…


Not that they don't still exist, or anything, but today's timepieces are all completely and totally goofy. They're all digital! They don't--none of 'em--look like watches at all.

A watch has a dial! (Just like a phone did, which kids today have no clue about, which is the origin of the expressions: "Dial 911" or "Don't touch that dial!" or even this from an oldie-but-a-goody tune: "Jus' pick up yer telephone an' dial now six-three-four-five-seven-eight-nine... if you neeeeeeeeed some lovin', call on me.") A watch also has a face. You used to watch the dial on the face. And on the face of it, that's how you used to tell time.

What ever happened to time? Or, more to the point, timekeeping?

With a watch, you could watch (yes) the second hand "sweep." You could tell at a glance just exactly how much past the full minute your sorry ass was draggin', or what kind of a time chunk you still had left before the next whole minute would be up. Today, with digital, you have to be a mathematician! You have to FORCE yourself to add and subtract, basically in a base-60 system. Quick: this digital whackpiece on my wrist says "3:09:23." I'm 30-something and trying to beat 3:10. How much time do I have left? Or how 'bout this one: How much time do I still have to qualify for Boston?

If I had a good analog timepiece--instead of this damned Timex whack--I could see at a glance. In an instant! I've either got until the second hand is straight up, or until that hand sweeps a whole 'nother time around the dial! (You forgot that Boston allows you the next 59 seconds of the cutoff minute, or it certainly used to! Or else I forgot. Or I never did have to remember. Hell, I've never run a 3:10 in my life. Never been 30 either!!)

So what EVER happened to "analog" timepieces? To "chronometers"? To those oft-touted "Swiss watches"? ("She's got more moving parts than a Swiss watch.") How about what ever happened to "stopwatches," for heaving's sake! You know, the round kind with the stem on top? They looked like your grandfather's pocket watch. You'd say, "On your mark, get set, GO!" Then immediately depress that stem. Then, you'd watch. Yes, both your watch and your runners. You'd also generally have to count the laps. (And for that, conveniently, your grandpa's generation had invented lap counters, which looked very much like their pocket watches; and you'd simply depress *that* stem at the conclusion of each lap and the next higher number would display.) And then finally, at the very instant that some bodypart of the lead runner "crossed the plane"--imagined to extend straight upwards from the leading edge of the goal line itself (just like in today's football)--click! You'd hit the stem of your stopwatch the second time.

Boom. Race over. Read it and weep. Those clock hands on the dial told you without even blinking just EXACTLY how much time had passed between stem clicks. Wham. Bam. Slam. No need for anything further. Everybody following behind your lead runner just lost the race. Pretty basic, huh?

Hey, whatever happened to basic?

Today they try to tell you/sell you that "chronometers" are what the race timers use. And those things look like little U-Haul trailers on stilts! You've seen 'em: great big ungainly black-and-yellow or black-and-red digital "readouts" like on the side of a boxcar. Click, click, click, or flap, flap, flap. Each second supposedly makes a new "digit." You read a display like this: "4:38:11" all supposedly strictly in keeping with a base-60 mathematical system. But once in Mississippi I saw a big digital "readout" at the finish line that looked like this: "6:79: 84." I went, "HUH???" [If you'd care to log-on and search around the official Carl Touchstone Mississippi 50 Trail Run's website, I'm sure you could find my incredulous "discussion" on this with Running Bear. Hey, might as well have, huh? Run bare, I mean. No watches. 'Cuz it certainly doesn't matter when you're timed at the finish line using a base math system that probably isn't even valid on Mars!]

Which brings us back to the main point: NONE of this confusion could possibly happen with a damn stopwatch that looks like a watch instead of neon windows on the side of Boxcar Bertha. What ever happened to those gigantic old timepieces you could see for blocks? Like what used to be mounted in front of Marshall Fields on State Street, Chicago? Or, how 'bout chronometers that can be read for miles, or furlongs, like Big Ben in London?? Didn't they used to have THOSE kinds of clocks at race finish lines???

No, huh?

Yeah, well I'll tell you what happened to legitimate, readable, recognizable, dial-face clocks and watches and stopwatches: Betamaxes happened. Yes, and VCRs and programmable televisions and alarm clocks and stereos and tapedecks and then right on down to today's damn CD and DVD thingies and iPads and iPoohs and iDontknowwhats. None of those things can tell frickin' TIME, ya see? They cannot tell from squat what it "says" on a watch dial. Moving parts? Hour hands? Minute hands? And second hands? Are you kidding? They don't even teach that anymore in kindergarten!!

No. Everything we see on the planet today is "linked" by clickable frickin' digits to cause something else to happen. When the damned "thing" says "6:30A," your coffeemaker comes on. When it clicks to "4:30P" (PDT) your Tivo starts recording last night's World Series game. And when those ugly yellow goofy things suddenly change to "3:11:00," hey, you ain't runnin' the Boston Marathon next April. (But only if you're 30, of course. If you're my age, you can qualify even if the clock battery's shot, it's the next day, and you just write a big fat check. Which of course means you can't be 30, because when you're 30, you're broke.)

Not that I ever was, of course; 30, I mean. It goes without saying I'm still "broke."

( O_O )

Yours troubly,

The Troubadour
"your ancient Middle Age lute-plucking costume-donning reveler on All Hallows' Eve who once showed up wearing a cauldron on his head and pretending to be: The Man from Space"

Yankee Folly of the Day:
What did I just read on the Internet: Halloween candy causes Alzheimer's Disease? Whoa! So, is it too late to read the riot act to my dad for snarfing up all those Baby Ruths, Mary Janes, and O Henrys every October 31st during the Roaring Twenties?
Posted:October 31st, 2012 10:57 am
Last View:June 19th, 2021 4:20 am
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