Archive for March 5, 2012

Rummaging through a box of old knick-knacks I came upon a pocket watch. Pocket watches seem to have gone out with the Lindy and the speakeasy. It’s a shame, isn’t it? There is a certain dignity invoked when one is asked for the time and fashioning a response first begins with a knowing, slightly superior glance followed by a tug of a chain, not unlike the gimp scene from Pulp Fiction. Nowadays it’s almost impossible not to know what time it is. Time is everywhere. On banks, pharmacies, monitors, microwaves, DVD players, cable boxes, clock radios, cars, phones, and even an occasional wrist. It is much more readily available, yet it seems as if something has been lost. (As an aside, for reasons unclear, I always think when a man carries a pocket watch he probably speaks with a refined British accent. But then again I still say “groovy”, so my cultural awareness is suspect at best.)

This particular pocket watch no longer works. I can say this with absolute certainty because I turned the stem knob and it snorted at me as if I were some kind of rube. Oh, the irony of someone so young being called a rube by something so old! (Just go with it.) This from a piece of jewelry manufactured, at the very latest, in 1957. I know this because the American Waltham Watch Company folded in 1957. I ask: Would a rube use these kind of Sherlock-like, googlesque powers of deduction? I think not, old chap!

The name “John Brennan” is clearly inscribed on the face, but I’m fairly sure it wasn’t my watch. Perhaps it was gifted in anticipation of my eventual arrival, but that’s unlikely. My family wasn’t known for its planning skills. That leaves two probable ownership possibilities: my brother’s father or my aunt’s husband. I guess there may’ve been another John Brennan floating around in those days, but for the sake of keeping an already complicated tale simple, let’s go with those two.

You see my mother and her sister both married men named John Brennan. Unrelated John Brennans at that. Imagine the odds! But since all of the principals have moved on (and I don’t mean to Del Boca Vista) the original ownership of this particular pocket watch is a mystery which will forever remain a mystery. Unless ghosts are real and one of those John Brennans suddenly appears before me in the middle of the night. Should that happen I imagine the question of the watch’s ownership won’t immediately pop to mind. Most likely I’ll hightail it out of the room, through the (hopefully) open door, and scamper down the street screaming like a wild banshee. Preferably clothed. Ghosts may be scary, but an image of an unclothed me is positively terrifying.

I’ve babbled on long enough. Doesn’t matter who owned this watch. It’s pretty neat. And I’m glad I stumbled upon it.