Saturday, December 4, 2010

From the Smallest Seed Grows the Greatest Outfit…or There is Something Rotten in the State of Denmark (why I hate Skaagen)

All I am going to say now is that the Danes are a filthy, thieving lot. I am sure I will get to why later, but for now you just have to trust me. You know, the evil, vengeful zombies in The Fog were from the Elizabeth Dane. I don't think that is a coincidence.

I assume this is what their repair shop looks like.
As I have said before, I often find that my outfits spring out of some desire (need? compulsion?) to wear one particular item. It could be shoes that I need to break in (you better remember that far back), an ascot that I forgot I owned, a pocket square that I found under a bridge, or a watch that cost far too much to get repaired because some official US service center is staffed by incompetent ham-fisted gorillas who can't figure out how to open a pocket watch that their company made just to change the battery without ripping out the stem and crown and smashing it to pieces because they don't even understand that there is a release mechanism. More on that later. I expect that you are starting to suspect that I hold grudges... or at least you would if you knew that this all started about 2 years ago. The grudge thing comes from my mother's side of the family. No one can hold a grudge like a Leibowitz. Oh, and I will be naming names. After all, that is why I take them while bustin' heads.

What was I talking about? Egg nog? Oh yeah... my pocket watch. So I have this Skaagen pocket watch that Jeff bought me very early on in our relationship, and after the expense of having the damage inflicted upon it by the Viking scumbuckets repaired, I try to make it a point to wear it frequently.

It's a watch. It tells me the time, just like a cell phone or a DVR.
Obviously, you can't wear a pocket watch without a vest. Where are you going to put it? In your jeans? I guess you could, if there is room in your pockets next to your beets. A vest without a tie might lead the casual observer to think you are a hipster dufus, and we can't have that. The tie should match your hair, and your shirt should match your tie. Yada yada yada. Next thing you know, you have put on trousers. As for shoes, clearly, you will just have to use your imagination.

Now, I have always had a fixation with pocket watches and watches in general. Truth be told, I prefer a sturdy antique watch with a spring over a battery-powered, new-fangled contraption. That may sound curmudgeony, but if my aforementioned watch had to be wound, I would never have found myself in that whole pickle. I really love the feel of winding a watch, as well as the symbolism. After all, time is fleeting and at some point it will run out. Winding a watch makes me feel like I am renewing my lease on life and I have another day. With a battery you never know when it will die on you, and then you have to open your watch, see what kind it takes, and then find a place to buy a new one. Let me tell you, Radio Shack's battery prices go up and up. (Does anybody out there know if you could use your battery-of-the-month card for watch batteries? I don't think you can. I for one always opted for the 9 volt. It was the most expensive one, and it made me feel like I was getting something valuable. Not to mention that you could stick it on your tongue for a jumpstart. That was a thrill for a 6-year old!) Changing a battery is not that difficult (you hear that, Skaagen nincompoops?) but it does require having a tool or two with you. When you wind your watch in the morning, you also make sure that the time is correct. Who really checks the accuracy of their battery-powered watch in the morning? I am not going to address self-winding watches that were so big in the '60s and '70s, since nothing says lazy like needing your watch to do the work for you. (I confess, I do have a pair of self-winding watches... his and hers... from my aunt and uncle, and they are pretty cool with a hypnotic spiral center thing that I have spent hours staring into. I know that I spent hours because they are watches, after all.)

Hey buddy...c'mere

Pssssst. Wanna see some watches? Sure you do.

This is exactly how you should be picturing me at this point.

Remember when we all used to wear a bazillion watches on one arm? If not, you probably never owned a Swatch®.

Hmmm... even I can't see those.

That's better. Now the oldest watch here is one that I bought in high school...maybe in 1983. Can you guess which one? Felix, of course, and he is indeed a wind-up. I got him at Cheeks in Cape May from Carl (or Karl, I am not sure). He still works and I still love to wear him. Dick Tracy is also a wind-up and I got him for my college boyfriend in 1986 for Christmas. You may well ask how I wound up with this one if it was a gift for someone else. I pulled it out of the garbage where he tossed it after we broke up. I do have to acknowledge that I made sure it was not an amicable parting... I am nothing if not dramatic. The point is, I get why he decided to dump it, and even at the time I was not so secretly happy he did so I could get it back. Needless to say, I would never throw away an accessory regardless of any emotional baggage. To this day I like to wear it when I put on my old man hat, because truth be told, I look exactly like that gumshoe, always have, even when I was 16.

I acquired the remaining three watches much more recently, all via eBay. As you can see, I do have a thing for fish. I really dig the Charlie the Tuna watch, despite the fact that he keeps terrible time (he is just a fish). Apparently he is some sort of quantum mechanical Schrödinger's fish and is a real stickler for the Heisenberg uncertainly principle. He ticks away just fine until you look at him, at which point he stops dead. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish runs just fine, but came with a BROWN band because nothing is ever perfect off the rack. I could forgive that since One Fish Two Fish Red Fish do all swim around Blue Fish, and I am very easily entertained by things moving on my watch face. As a side note, obviously I replaced the band with a tasteful black one (a lady band, for my dainty lady wrist), but discovered that it is nearly impossible to find a shop that sells watchbands. Is it just de rigueur to throw away your watch when the band breaks? The mall says yes. Lastly, there's Zim.

I don't want to bore you too much with a catalogue, but too late! Let's see... ship goes around, plane flies around, blue Pekkle's fish swim around. Purple Pekkle is far too cheap to do more than stare at you (the hands don't even go around). Lock, Shock, and Barrel don't have to do anything, because you KNOW what they are thinking about doing, and you don't want any part of it.

Cappy from Skaagen
(Artist's conception)
Look at the time! Man, I certainly do go on and on, and I haven't even really said why I hate Skaagen customer service so much. Yes, they did destroy my watch when I sent it in to have the battery changed, but it doesn't end there. After quite the runaround on the phone, I was informed by a grown-up man who went by the name of "Cappy" with a voice like Pickles (of Dethklok, not of the delicious, crunchy kind) that the Skaagen "lifetime warranty" is limited, meaning that they only need to repair or replace your watch if they feel like it, regardless of whether or not they themselves smashed it to a million bits. (I assume that accent was some sort of old world relic.) After much arguing, he graciously agreed to refund the 6 dollars that I had prepaid for the new battery (which they did NOT actually send back with my butchered watch.) I believe he said something to the effect of, "Seex dolluurs won't break us, eh." The irony of his use of the word "break" was not lost on me. Ultimately, I took it to my watch guy (That's right! I have a watch guy! Doesn't everybody?) here on 9th Street who was horrified by my story, and promptly and skillfully repaired it, just leaving me out-of-pocket and out of patience. And that is why I hate the Danes. And then there is what happened to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, too.

Everybody loves Uncle Philly's hypnowatch.

Next time: Underpants: Why come we sew our names into them?

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