The Six-Dollar [American] Watch

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Those of you who’ve been reading here a while might recall the soul-searching I had to do when my Timex Expedition wouldn’t belly up to the bar after the batteries went dead and I tried replacing them.  That poor old watch breathed its last.  I figured I’d be replacing it, but what with heart attacks and one thing and another, I didn’t.

Instead I picked up a digital watch at Dollar Tree for a buck to hold me over until I could decide whether I was going to live long enough to be needing a $25-$30 watch until the batteries died.  No point putting out all that money for extra watch a man wasn’t going to live long enough to look at the full $25 worth.  Or more.  Hell you can’t take it with you.  It’s like buying new underwear, if you’re me.  When your life is on a short leash you debate hard with yourself whether these jockey’s can’t be stretched long enough to hold out until I croak.

Aesthetics gradually rolled over me with that dollar watch.  Damned thing had a stiff plastic band that raised welts on my wrist and I’ve really never been able to make my mind absorb the numbers on a watch without any damned hands at a quick glance.  I have to squint and study on it to figure out where the hands would be if it were a real watch.

So last year at Andrews, Texas, while my bud Eddie Brewer was being host for the RV, the cats and me while I awaited the pleasure of the VA medical folks, I spang went to a discount-type store in Andrews and found myself a $6.00 [American] real watch with hands.  Figured I couldn’t die until the VA got around to telling me why I was going to, and it might take a few more bucks of watch to outlast them.

That was about this time last year, got myself a nice $6.00 watch with a leather-looking band and a quartz movement.  That watch saw me through some damned difficult times I can tell you. I spent last Christmas in the parking lot of an AutoZone store in Big Spring, Texas, digging through the dumpster and admiring the life left in that new watch.

When the store re-opened after Christmas my brake master cylinder arrived, I installed it using tools I got out of their dumpster, and trucked to San Angelo.  Where I suspect I had another heart attack in the WalMart parking lot, but nevertheless trucked back to Gale’s.  All this is probably written up here in the archives.

Then the Kerrville, Texas hospital.

More damned needles, tests, hospital beds than a person has to put up with if he’s only relying on the VA for his health care.  Those damned private medical facilities get downright enthusiastic when it comes to poking and prodding.

Anyway, after the hospital in Kerrville the watch was still working, so naturally I had to try to stay alive, which didn’t seem all that likely if I didn’t take some sort of decisive steps to outlast the damned watch.  I could barely stagger up the steps into the RV and out again to pee.  And I was worried about the cats being stuck inside if I croaked and nobody found me for a few days.

So I headed for Kansas during the coldest weather in living memory in Texas and it was no slouch in Kansas, either.  Made it north of Dallas, checked into a motel to croak or whatever.  But the damned watch was still running and Jeanne’s sons came down, drove me up here.  Coldest damned road trip I recall in my life except one in Korea.  But that’s another story.

So, you know the rest, mostly.  Hospitals, more VA, all the usual suspects, and that $6 Andrews, Texas watch kept on ticking.

It was the band that killed it off.  Watch is fine but the band broke up next to the watch.  I was afraid that was going to happen, saw it coming.  I even went so far as to shop around for another watch band, which would have cost double what the watch set me back.  Then I sneaked around and looked at the cost of Timex Expeditions.  And I knew in my defibrillatored heart I couldn’t outlive a damned Timex.  I had to draw my line in the sand.

Jeanne took me over to a Big Lot store, me thinking they might have something I could live as long as, and spang!  There it was.  A six-dollar [American] watch, that had the look of something that probably wouldn’t outlast me.

The lady at the register helped me unfasten all the security belts and extra packaging a person hates to throw away, but hell, damned stuff is shaped to be worthless.  I strapped that mama on, set it to the time on the clock above the register, and I was ready to rock and roll again.

Brief panic when I checked the time against my computer an hour later and it seemed to have lost 10 minutes, but it was just they had their clock set fast at Big Lot.  Those folks are young enough they don’t have any appreciation for throwing their time away fooling around with clocks.

So I’m back in the saddle.  Got me a watch I can feel confident will last me the remainder of my life if need be, without wasting a damned cent.  And not likely to put a lot of pressure on me to live past my time.

Old Jules

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5 responses to “The Six-Dollar [American] Watch

  1. Well; at least the story has a…happy?… ending. Hell Man, I don’t guess I need to tell you that having heart attacks in the Wal-Mart parking lot is contra-indicated for survival. Wal-Mart would let you die and rot right there if they thought it would save them a dollar of fertilizer; sell your RV for scrap and consider the whole affair a good deal for the Waltons. Every dollar counts when you need money as badly as they do Brother.

    I really hope you hang in there. Our world would be less without your knowledge, experience and insight I believe. I know mine would. Try to take care of yourself. I remain a faithful reader.

    • Thanks Angryman. It’s all good. I’ll confess, though, that ending this lifetime in a Walmart parking lot isn’t exactly what I’d consider most oppropriate in my case. I always hoped it would happen in a canyon somewhere and the coyotes would do their work of graving me out and nobody ever finding my carcass. But failing that, any place that isn’t an ambulance or hospital is fine with me. Gracias, J

  2. Hang in there, Jules. I know that feeling of waiting and trying to time those last few heart beats but we can continue for, at least, a little while longer. bgbg

    • Thanks Bill, and thanks for coming by. Yeah, the old countdown is sort of exciting though, betting on the come, one way or the other. I’m going to try to get down to WalMart soon and bet on a couple of pairs of spanking new Dickey socks at $5 per pair, I’m feeling to uppidy. Gracias, J

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