“What became yesterday’s history is now today’s property.”
I have a watch that used to be my grandfather’s. It has an old leather band and a scratched face and hands that go tick, tick, tick. Well, it doesn’t go tick, tick, tick anymore, but it still looks good strapped on my wrist or lying on my dresser. Besides, it doesn’t need to tick anymore. There’s phones and microwaves and TVs and ovens and fridges all trying to tell you the time. Nobody asks watches like this one what time it is anymore.
My grandfather always did. He would wear this watch wherever he went and he would always ask it what time it was. He would wear it when we all went out to dinner together every Friday. He’d wear it to church on Sunday morning. Everywhere he went, people would stop him and tell him how much they liked his watch. Sometimes, they would show him their watches and they would compare them. “Mine goes tick, tick, tick,” my grandfather would say, and they would say, “Mine goes tock, tock, tock.” My grandfather told me never to trust someone whose watch goes tock, tock, tock. But fewer and fewer people would stop my grandfather with watches that went tock, tock, tock. Fewer and fewer people had watches at all. They had phones and microwaves and TVs and ovens and fridges and no watches. My grandfather’s watch grew lonely.
That’s why it stopped ticking. One night it worked – tick, tick, tick – and in the morning, it realized how pointless it was to go tick, tick, tick, so it stopped. But I still keep it with me. I think to myself, one day I’ll fix this watch. I’ll take it to somebody who knows how to talk to watches. I’ll take it to them and I’ll say, “this watch, it was my grandfather’s watch, but it doesn’t want to tick anymore.” And they’ll say, “you’ve come to the right place,” and I’ll give the watch to them and they’ll talk to it, and they’ll tell it how special it is, and how much my grandfather cared for it, and it’ll start to feel better, and one day it’ll start ticking again.
I’ll wear it to dinner, I’ll wear it on Sundays, I’ll show it to everyone I see. I’ll say, “this was my grandfather’s watch,” and they’ll all look at my wrist and they’ll all be very impressed with my grandfather’s watch. And it won’t matter that all the phones and microwaves and TVs and ovens and fridges are trying to tell you the time because none of those are my grandfather’s watch. None of those have an old leather band and a scratched face and hands that go tick, tick, tick.