Brian J. Sullivan

It has been three years since I purchased my watch, and I still have not figured out how to change the time. Oh sure, there was an instruction book included with the watch. It was printed in fifteen different languages in a font size of -2. This one sheet of paper was then folded down to the size of a matchbook on thin rice paper. Just unfolding it was a bit of a challenge, but try to read it with all the creases and distorted text.

One time, I even took this single page instruction sheet to the studio and tried to read it under my articulating magnifying lamp. It was then that I realized I had not purchased a watch, no-sir-re Bob! This little gem displays your heart beat, measures the miles that you walk, has a stop watch, has three kinds of alarms on it, a snooze setting, a calculator, a calorie counter, tells time in 12 or 24 hour cycles, has built-in light, and shows the date/day and year. It also has several symbols on it that I could not decipher. This is, of course, all controlled by pushing a combination of any one of the four buttons in the correct sequence.

The problem is, I travel all over the country participating in art fairs, hence crossing numerous time zones in any one week, sometimes even in the same day. Add to that the changes for daylight savings time which in some states like Indiana, sometime do and sometimes don't change their clocks. In my advancing years, I find it harder to deal with this kind of stress. Half the time I don't even know what time it is.

I'm still trying to get my watch to read the correct time, day, and date—forget about the snooze alarm or the calorie counter. I think I got the year set, at least for now. Each time I cross a time zone, I become confused because of the changes I need to make to my watch to get it current. This, of course, is because of the complexity of watches that have a zillion functions, and one can't simply pull out the stem like the old watches, rotate the hands, and then push the stem back in. Twenty seconds tops, done, and no stress. Now I have to navigate the alarm, timers, dates, clocks, etc. Then, add to that the places in some states that sometimes switch and then other times don't switch times, depending on the time of year. I don't think I will ever figure out their system. So today, after 30 years on the art fair circuit, I finally figured out a system to use for the time changes. Actually, thanks in part should go to Homeland Security for the idea. But who wants to give the government any credit.

I went to Osco drug store and purchased four different color watches (the three primary colors and black—the closest I could come to matching the four Homeland Security colors). The black watch is set to Eastern Time zone. The red watch is set for the Central time zone, yellow to Mountain Time, and the blue watch is set for Pacific Time.

Boy, did the light bulb just go on in your head when you read that? It's so simple, so stress free, and all for the price of a couple of cheap watches—priceless. Now, whenever I travel from one zone to another, I simply switch watches from one color to the next. And it all works flawlessly until I enter the state of Indiana. There I don't wear a watch because none of them will be right since half the state changes and the other half decided not to change. Go figure.

Not only has my watch system saved me countless hours trying to set and reset the correct time, they are also great fashion statements (black, red, yellow, blue).  So the next time you see me, don't thank me; thank Homeland Security. And remember, even non-running watches display the correct time at least twice in a 24 hour period!