Monday:  watch post

Rabbi Jason Miller said in his review of the book The Timekeeper:   “Time is on our wrists and computer screens, on our cell phones and on the walls of our home;
but Mitch Albom teaches us that being a time keeper is not the way to live.” 

From our earliest existence, we have tried to find ways to measure time-sun dials, obelisks, the waning and waxing of the moon, the tides.  But, early in the 15th century , there was enough mechanical and industrial info and motivation, a young German fellow decided to kick Mother Nature out of the equation-developed a spring-powered clock.  Big ones, smaller ones, pretty ones, fancy ones-Peter Henlein became known all over Europe for his lovely clocks and watches.  But, alas, they never became the standard for accuracy-they could be off by several hours-and were not very portable.

Over time, “pardon the pun”- only ladies would wear a watch on the wrist-even the name became a little feminine-“wristlet.”  These wristlets were mostly viewed as a passing fad , and no self-respecting man would even consider wearing a watch on his wrist.  A gentleman of that era (about 100 years ago) stated with fervor:  “I would rather wear a skirt as wear a wristwatch.”

Sadly, it was during a war that men saw it reasonable to embrace a timepiece on their wrist.  It was cumbersome to coordinate the timing of combat operations with the standard of the day for self-respecting fellows-the pocket watch.  So, they improvised and created a leather strap to hold their timepiece on their wrists, freeing their hands up to do battle.  Along with smokeless gunpowder, magazine fed rifle and the automatic machine gun, the wristwatch is viewed by many as the strategic difference in bringing victory to the British in the Anglo-Boer War. Go figure…

Two things:

1.  If only Pinterest had been around for those poor soldiers trying to create something to hold their timepiece on their wrists.  That would have caught on like wildfire….

2.  I should maybe feel a little silly that my take on the word “watch” is a photo of my very inexpensive, very trendy collection of watches.  Since I keep time with computers, hand-held devices and iPhones, the watch of once noble purpose has been reduced to an inexpensive (let’s be honest here: cheap) fashion accessory-purchased on a whim and discarded in the Goodwill Box to make room for the new one that most certainly will be purchased impulsively and based on a trend.

Remember when folks retired with a gold watch?  Was that a metaphor about “time?”  When you have some reading time-I know, I just can’t stop myself with the puns-read The Timekeeper.  I promise you will never look at a timepiece in the same way again.