I had a birthday recently. It happens. We all have one every year.
This birthday was different because my lovely wife, Lisa, voluntarily bought me a nice gift. (It’s a long story.)
Let the record state that for my 67th birthday I received from my wife an Apple watch.
What I got for my birthday is a watch, much in the same way that what I carry in my pocket all day, every day — is a phone. Yes, it will tell time, much in the same way my cell phone will allow me to make calls — but neither of these two capabilities even approach the tip of the iceberg.
Let me tell you what my new phone does.
It wakes me up every morning. That’s the best part. My kids somehow created a Mickey Mouse face on my watch — it looks just like one of those 1950s Mickey Mouse watches where Mickey’s white-gloved hands point to actual numbers — 1 through 12. Except if I touch the top of the watch Mickey’s actual voice tells me what time it is, as in “Wake up, pal. It’s 6 a.m. Good morning!”
Every morning. 6 a.m. Somewhere in the universe there is someone who knows how to turn the alarm off so that Mickey would let me sleep until a reasonable hour. I just haven’t met that person. And throughout the day I can tap my watch and hear Mickey tell me the exact time — all the while tapping his left foot.
I like it. I really do. I like it so much that I check the time — and enjoy seeing Mickey Mouse dance — many many times each day.
My Apple watch tells me what the weather is doing — temperature, wind speed, barometric pressure — and it dings when it is fixing to rain. It also reads my text messages to me and can take my phone calls. Yes, I know Dick Tracy had a watch that would do that 60 years ago, but I’ve only had one for a week. That’s the good stuff.
What else my new Apple watch does is it helps my wife and kids keep tabs on me and control my life. I mean other than my wife already controls my life. My watch counts my steps each day. It counts the calories I burn. So far it hasn’t found a way to count the calories I consume, but Lisa does a great job of that, already.
And my watch fusses at me. I’m sitting in my chair, reading or watching television — hey, it’s March Madness — or working at my computer, planning amazing trips or writing hilarious columns, like this one, and my watch — MY WATCH — will tell me to stand up and walk around for a minute. I ain’t making this up, y’all. My watch tells me to stand up and walk around. And it is relentless. It keeps telling me until I do it!
I get back at it, though. When it makes me stand up and walk, I walk right into the kitchen for a snack. I have a freezer full of Girl Scout cookies. Take that, Mac.
That’s not all. It also tells me, every now and then, to breathe. Come on! I always remember to breathe! Always. But my watch feels compelled to remind me, and wants me to breathe deeply, for several minutes every hour.
My watch also measures my heartbeat. It’s going at a rate of 68 beats per minute right now. It will even take an EKG. That will come in handy when I start having a heart attack because my new watch is making me exercise too much.
Oh, yes. It measures my exercise. It has something called rings and constantly nags me to get busy closing up my rings. Right now, for instance, my calories ring is 58 percent closed, my exercise ring is only 13 percent closed and my standing up every hour ring is 50 percent closed. When each ring is closed, the dial of the watch lights up like a slot machine on three cherries.
Now all of that isn’t so bad, as far as it goes — but my watch is a snitch. It doesn’t just tell me when I complete a workout, or a ring — or don’t. It blabs it to my whole family — Lisa, my kids, and even my mother-in-law. Now that’s what I needed added to my life. One other way for my mother-in-law to know what I am or am not doing.
It also tells me what the others on my list are doing. That just feeds my inferiority complex because they all do way more than I do.
My kids tell me that I can add apps that will make my watch act like a television or tell me what club to use on the ninth tee at Honey Creek. Wouldn’t matter. I’d hit the second shot in the water regardless.
I’m still trying to decide whether I love my gift or hate it, but for now I’m leaning toward love. What kid raised in the 1950s wouldn’t like Mickey Mouse waking them up every day — even if it is at 6 a.m.
Darrell Huckaby is an author in Rockdale County. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.