In horror, I jumped out of the shower, my comatose morning brain shocked into a state of high alert.
“Dude, that was a close call,” I said out loud, looking at the only dry part of my body: my left forearm, which happened to have my two-day-old, non-waterproof birthday present from my wife strapped to it.
It’s the first non-Timex watch I’ve had on my wrist since the Hamburglar one that came with my Happy Meal thirty years ago.
“I don’t think I’m cut out to be a fancy man,” I told Kara later, as we slapped together peanut-butter-and-jelly-based sustenance for our children.
“Fancy man?” she asked.
“Wearing a non-waterproof watch. It’s a big responsibility,” I said.
She laughed, not understanding the depth of my reluctance to accept any addition to a daily routine that already barely features enough time to tend to basic human grooming.
“The watch really isn’t fancy. Most people don’t wear their watch in the shower. I asked at work – all the guys take their watches off every day,” she replied. Fine for them, but if I add this extra calorie-burning to my daily routine, something else will have to come off. Skipping flossing wouldn’t count, either, because nobody does that in real life.
Perhaps my hesitation to accept this nice gift stemmed from a formative experience I had with a fancy watch in college. I was working at I. Goldberg’s Great Outdoor Store, a very nice place that was famous for remaining in business until they built a Dick’s next door.
A middle-aged man chatted me up while I was working behind the knife-and-watch counter. He was looking at the Swiss Army watches under the glass, considering one as a gift for his son.
“Do you know what this is?” he asked, holding out his wrist so that I could get a good look at his giant metal watch, which was roughly the size of Captain America’s shield.
“No,” I said, guessing that “a watch” was somehow the wrong answer.
“It’s an Omega,” he replied, pausing a few beats to let that information sink in, but it just bounced off.
“It’s nice,” I said.
“It could pay for your college education,” he said, and I finally understood that I was speaking to someone of distinction; he held the distinction of being the biggest gasbag I’d ever met.
The funny thing about status symbols is that they actually tell you the opposite of what they’re supposed to. That man’s watch didn’t tell me anything about how much money he had, only how much money he no longer had.
Also, I bet that tuition-equivalent watch had to come off every day before that guy got in the shower, assuming he bathed in water, and not his own pretentiousness. It’s like how fine china can’t go through the dishwasher, but our plastic Dora the Explorer plates can. Fancy people like to be inconvenienced.
Water resistance is of special importance to me, because, as the regular reader(s) of this column may recall, I occasionally indulge in the sport of fishing my iPhone out of the toilet. To excel at this sport, one must be prepared for wet appendages at any moment. He who hesitates will soon be found at the Genius Bar, getting a new phone.
After all this, though, I’m still not certain whether my new watch is waterproof or not. Look at this marvel of English from the product description: “Water resistant to 99 feet (30 M): withstands rain and splashes of water, but not showering or submersion.”
So it’s fine to wear the watch underwater, but DO NOT, under any circumstances, submerge it or take a shower while doing so.
You don’t have these kinds of issues when your watch comes with small fries.
You can submerge Mike Todd to ninety-nine feet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 weeks ago