A few weeks ago, while I was visiting a friend in Deep Cove, BC, she showed me an old Grandfather Clock, which she inherited through the family line. I can't recall if she knew exactly how old the ole time-ticker was, but older than her real life grandfathers and old enough to be pretty much in need of quite a bit of repair; thus likely too much of an antique for even the Antique Roadshow.
The darn thing was almost as tall and freestanding as moi. In its current state, it actually looked more like a bookcase than a timepiece, replete with a hidden pendulum and other mechanics, behind the fading wood frame door. If one removed its gold hour and minute hands, one might confuse it for a confessional box for very small yet repentant Catholics or, at the very least, somewhere to hide the hooch when the hard-drinking neighbours came over for a visit.
It stood there looking, like its observer, a bit shabby and wobbly after all its years on Planet Confusion. It was heavy enough to cause damage to any passer-by should it loose its balance or decide to do a Vaudevillian prat-fall.
As such, I immediately conjured up a possible Agatha Christie murder mystery or an addition to the game of Clue, "Mr. Mustard in the living room with a tipsy Grandfather Clock."
Re-reading Dewdney's intriguing book on “Time,” I became curious as to the origin of the term 'grandfather clock.' Thus, according to Wikipedia,
Henry Zecher ... tells us that grandfather clocks were known, originally, as "long case clocks." In 1875, Henry Clay Work wrote the song “My Grandfather’s Clock.” ... The particular clock, in the song, was found in North Yorkshire, England, at the George Hotel, where it still stands today. It was known to be exceptional. It kept accurate time. As the story goes the hotel owners were a pair of bachelors, the Jenkins brothers. One of the brothers died and the clock curiously began losing time. Attempts to repair the clock failed, and the story culminates when at the remaining brother’s death, the clock ceased running altogether. Work was an abolitionist who helped thousands of slaves flee to freedom in the north. He was sentenced and imprisoned in 1841 and released in 1845, penniless. He began writing songs. Work was a guest at The George Hotel in 1875, hence the song “My Grandfather’s Clock.”
History shows that the first public mechanical clocks had only an hour hand. People would come from the rural areas and stand there gob-smacked, awaiting the movement of Mickey's Big and only Hand. Sundials and Hourglasses, along with scratches on pieces of wood or bone, mostly fell to the dust of time. Improvements were made over the years and, eventually, long case, pendulum swinging, clocks became de rigueur.
These pendulum-oriented clocks worked well, and accurately, into the 20th Century when you might say time reading and calculation picked up speed, so that we now have "cesium-beam atomic clocks" with their ability to break 'time' down into ever smaller units ... that go by so fast, ya don't have time to see and read' em!
Despite our ability to track time and its obvious positive contributions to all aspects of our lives, one wonders if, in our freedom to invent or discover ever-smaller units of time, we have become slaves to Cronos, the original Time God.
Tick, Tick, Tick. Everywhere there’s a reminder of the passage of time. This can be a blessing and a curse. For example, Glenn Gould estimated that, in being 36 years of age, he had lived 1,088,640,000 seconds. Holy crap! That sounds a lot more satisfying and interesting that saying that you're 36 years old!
Well, imagine you're one of those country-bumpkins, in for the day, standing among some of the first people in the world looking at a clock tower, which only moves once an hour. Your sense of time would slow down. Heck! Fire up a joint or two and you might feel an hour would seem like an eternity.
More and more, our lives are caught in the rush of chasing rabbits that are already late for a very important date. These days it is common to see people running down the street, trying to flag a taxi, while texting on their Smart Phones.
It's getting out of … er ... hand. Sportsnet has a digital countdown clock running at the bottom of the TV screen informing us of the number of days, hours, minutes, and seconds before the NHL season begins. Mercy. Somebody please tell Leaf Nation it's okay to go to bed ... and, no, don't set that alarm!
There ya go! Even our sleep is interrupted by time concerns. Get up, get out, get going and going and going. Don't forget to click on the slow cooker.
C' mon Man! It's okay, in the grander scheme of things, to even miss the first game of the season! Of course, what a luxury to be able to 'record' programmes; but, we still have to find the time to watch them! Fast-forwarding is but a mirage that you are speeding up real time. Spend too much time watching pre-recorded programs and flossing your teeth may have to be postponed until tomorrow.
Alas, as a slave to schedules, even I must bow to the passage of, and scheduling of, time. Ergo ....
My predictions for the coming hockey season begin now! I don't have time to explain any of these selections! I have baseball games to watch!
Play-off teams are in BOLD.
EASTERN CONFERENCE - ATLANTIC
EASTERN CONFERENCE - METRO
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
NEW YORK RANGERS
WESTERN CONFERENCE - CENTRAL
WESTERN CONFERENCE - PACIFIC
Chill the beer. Put it in the freezer; it'll take less time.
Bob Stark is a musician, poet, philosopher and couch potato. He spends his days, as did Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus, pouring lattes and other adult beverages into a recycled mug, bearing a long and winding crack. He discusses, with much insight and passion, the existentialist and phenomenological ontology of the Vancouver 'Canucks,' a hockey team, "Archie" comic books and high school reunions. In other words, Bob Stark is a retired public servant living the good life on the wrong coast of Canada.
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