Sure I remember getting my first grown-up watch. No cartoon character bolted dead center. No skinny black arms with white gloved hands pointing out the time around the dial. A simple, clean face with a mini box displaying the date. A real big boy’s watch.
Getting that watch thrilled me. Excited me. I tried putting it on and taking it off over and over. I was chomping at the bits, anticipating to see that watch strut its stuff.
You know what that watch did? Nothing much. Sure, I could stare at it as much as I wanted. The watch didn’t mind. Didn’t much care, either. Just kept ticking off the seconds. That’s what watches do. Nothing much. You could stay up till midnight and relish the tiniest movement as the date changed. That represented the highlight of that watch at work. Not exactly what you’d describe to your pals as heavy action.
I showed the watch to everyone I could. Got a “good for you” and a pat on the head from relatives. A friend or two said, “Cool.” So they’d stand around in a tight circle and stare at your wrist. Sure, it’s a watch, all right. And a new one, too. But that’s about it. A few seconds goes by and party’s over.
The existence of that watch had no immediate, measurable impact. The very fact of the watch itself didn’t seem to mean a whole lot. I wore it all day without any discernible cause and effect, without side effect, even. That watch had no immediate impact on my life. Nothing really changed. On its own, when you come right down to it, that watch didn’t do much of anything, no matter how much you stared at it.
Publishing a book’s kind of like a new watch…