The Old Watch

Posted by David Benson on June 23, 1998 at 17:36:17:

I got a new watch for Christmas. A handsome new watch--a Timex with a fancy leather band and a face that glows in the dark if you push the button on its side. A brand new watch. How I needed one.
My old watch was also a Timex, but I'd had it for a good long time. Over five years. It had Roman numerals, and its glass was marked with several scratches. Its original band had broken a long time ago, and so I'd given it a new band, a black cloth band that I'd taken from a long-dead digital watch I'd worn as a kid. Sometimes, if I wore my old watch out in the rain, it would fog up underneath the glass for awhile. Occasionally, it would lag a few minutes behind, so I'd set it a few minutes ahead. Overall, it kept pretty good time. Still, I needed a new watch.
When I unwrapped my new watch on Christmas morning, I put it on immediately. I left my old watch on the nightstand by my bed, and wore the new one everywhere I went, showing it off to people. Forgot entirely about that old watch. Occasionally I would notice it, lying on the nightstand where I'd left it on Christmas Eve, but I didn't think about what to do with it now that I had a new one. I figured I'd get around to doing something with the old watch eventually.
Tonight I picked up the old watch. I was dusting my nightstand, came across the old watch, and picked it up. Mostly out of curiosity, I suppose. I noticed that the old watch wasn't ticking. I tried to wind it up, but it wouldn't wind. No matter how much I messed with the little knob, I couldn't get the watch's hands to move. It was dead. Stone cold dead. I looked at the last date recorded by my old watch. December 28th. As if it had lasted a couple of days, and then expired.
As I held the limp, lifeless watch in my hands, I began to wonder. The watch had been working perfectly up until midnight on Christmas Eve, when I took it off for what turned out to be the last time. Was it dying then? Would it have popped its last screw on the 28th anyway and left me without a watch? Or, was the new watch the very reason for this sad and senseless death? If I hadn't cast away the old timepiece in favor of a shiny new one, would it still be clicking away on my wrist today and for many years to come?
Deep questions, these. Questions to think about, I suppose. I'd rather not think right now, though. Don't have much time. I've got a watch funeral to attend.

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