Airport security doesn’t understand Luddites

I really don’t consider myself a Luddite.  I have a cell-phone, write a blog, my motorcycle has a shaft drive, I like central heat and air.  On the other hand, I like some traditional things like acoustic instruments, and early music (baroque, renaissance, medieval) played on period-type instruments — I own a harpsichord and a consort of recorders.  I also have a wind-up pocket-watch.

When I was a kid, I’d see those Timex commercials where they strapped the wristwatch to a horse’s leg, or an outboard motor, or the ankle of a skater who jumps a dozen barrels. "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking."  You never saw them put one in a washing-machine, though, and for good reason.  I’d ask for a watch for Christmas or my birthday, and the folks would come through with a nifty little "waterproof, shock-resistant" model.  After a while, it would irritate my wrist and I’d take it off and put it in my pocket… and forget about it.  When it re-appeared at the end of its trip through the washer and dryer, it would have changed from a watch into a small paper-weight.

Since the watch always wound up in my pocket anyway, I decided to go for a pocket-watch.  If it had a strap around your belt, you probably wouldn’t put it through the laundry.  At the age of fourteen, I started carrying a pocket-watch, and haven’t been without one these last forty years.  In fact, I have several.

Pocketwatch_2 I’ve carried this Wyler "Skipper" watch for 25 years, off and on, and it’s been a dandy. It came with a lifetime guarantee, but the company went out of business the next year, so it’s a bit hard to say how significant that is.  The back is engraved with two lines: "T. Everett Mobley, D.V.M." above "The Singing Veterinarian".  The engraving is almost worn away after all these years.  When we were coming back from Orlando, this watch got me stopped in the security check-in.   

I had taken off my shoes and emptied my pockets, taken off my belt, and put everything in the little pan to go through the X-ray, followed by my carry-on.  I breezed through the metal detector (despite my eye-glasses and mouthful of fillings and crowns) and stepped over to reclaim my belongings.  They weren’t coming through, though.  The inspector had them stopped and had called for his supervisor.  When the supervisor arrived, the inspector pointed at the "Skipper" and asked, "Is this some kind of stop-watch?"  Fortunately, the supervisor was more experienced, and waved me on through.

Watchgearsjpg The inspector had not seen many pocket-watches, and had never seen a watch full of gears and springs.  He expected to see a battery and a microchip, and they weren’t there.  I guess he thought it might have been a wind-up explosive.  There’s something that would appeal to a Luddite.

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