In my essay “The Daddy Watch“, I said:
Sometime the middle 1980s, when digital watches broke the barrier from technical marvel to status symbol for middle schoolers, I got my first watch as a gift. I wore a series of digital time pieces until college, where I got a real name brand watch for Christmas as a gift from my then-current sweetheart.
I remember that the watch had real hands on it; at some point in my midpoint generation, the anachronism of hands instead of LCD digits implied some status as a grown-up. This particular model offered an elapsed-time ring that fit around the edge of the watch. You could twist the ring so that the zero lined up with the big hand. Whenever you finished your activity, you could look to see where the big hand was to see how many minutes had elapsed. Unless, of course, the minutes exceeded a full hour, at which point the digital-dependents who didn’t know what the little hand was for would be lost. The elapsed time ring lasted only a few months, until a devastating encounter with a potato bin’s edge taught me to wear the watch on the inside of my wrist. I wore that watch longer than I remained with that particular soulmate. I can’t even remember the circumstances where that watch failed, nor can I remember what it looked like when I laced that band up onto my wrist. But those salad days of collegiate vigor end like inexpensive timepieces.
While tossing my desk’s pen drawer, I dumped a bin of pens I’ve accummulated and not used for decades, and low and beleft: The very watch in question.
A twenty-year-old watch that has not worked in probably fifteen years, to be charitable. And I still have it.
Perhaps I shall have to try replacing the battery to see if it works or if it actually suffered a catastrophic failure of some sort. As I do have a watch already, maybe I’ll donate it to some church garage sale or something.
Because it has crossed my mind, briefly, in recent days that I might just possibly keep too much stuff.