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Adult-size fingers make time change difficult

This time-change business used to get me all frazzled, but no longer.

Watches are not meant to be set by people with fingers. Those buttons are too small to be manipulated by anyone older than 10. Just as sure as I would get the day set to Sunday, I would have the month stuck on Marzo. By the time I would get the hour and minute right, I would despair of the whole a.m./p.m. puzzle.

Watchmakers must bust a gut when they pack those tiny instructions. "Pull the button out one one-hundredth of an inch, turning the watch counterclockwise. Repeat. Try again. Keep trying. Or call this number, so a recorded voice can tell you to try again."

Oh, I would master it all eventually. The big old SUN would slide into place at midnight Saturday, the month would be stamped in English, the time would agree with the wall clock and the a.m./p.m. would agree with the sun/moon. Of course that would happen in November, just in time to set the watch back an hour.

Only a fool would mess with a watch for eight months, so I stopped trying. Eventually.

I chanced upon the strategy of buying an extra watch. No, not the dozen or so gift and souvenir and keepsake watches in a dozen or so drawers. But a real extra, working watch. From March to November I would wear Watch 1, which was locked onto daylight saving time. During the winter I would wear Watch 2, which was set to standard time.

Of course there was a fly in that ointment. No watch battery lasts through two full cycles of time change. So the watch would stop and would need to be reset. And then it hit me!

Now I saunter up to the jewelry counter early one Sunday in March and one Sunday in November and complain that my watch battery has gone bad. The staffer will have tiny fingers and the key to the secret code and will install a battery and reset all the wheels in about two minutes.

Of course the time change involves more than watches. We have clocks on the walls, on the kitchen range, the microwave, the VCR/DVD player, the stereo and the alarm clock. Whatever we do with the alarm clock will be wrong. We will be an hour late or two hours early. Eventually we will figure out how to set the snooze button to three-hour intervals, and things will calm down for a while.

Then there's the car, where the clock is controlled by the radio. We could invite the clerk from the jewelry counter to look at the car radio, or we could make do. For the past several months my car has been six minutes early to every event. For the next several months my car will be 54 minutes late. I can live with that.

I did master the time-change feature on my cell phone. I would be happy to show you how if I could remember how it's done.

The part I never will figure is why we bother changing clocks at all. But if I had the smarts to tackle that one, I'd just set my watch and be done with it.

So I'm rehearsing my speech again. "Darned battery," I will complain. And maybe the clerk will take pity on me and will say, "Oh, Mr, Snow, the battery was just loose. Again." Maybe.

If so, I will know I've gone to the store on the right Sunday.

Web posted on Thursday, March 10, 2011

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