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Fancy watch

Jake is struggling through a bus station with two huge and obviously heavy suitcases when

a stranger walks up to him and asks “Have you got the time?”

Jake sighs, puts down the suitcases and glances at his wrist. “It’s a quarter to six,” he


“Hey, that’s a pretty fancy watch!” exclaims the stranger.

Jake brightens a little. “Yeah, it’s not bad. It’s an invention of mine I’ve been working

on. Check this out” – and he shows him a time zone display not just for every time zone in

the world, but for the 86 largest metropolises.

He hits a few buttons and from somewhere on the watch a voice says “The time is eleven

’til six” in a very West Texas accent. A few more buttons and the same voice says

something in Japanese. Jake continues “I’ve put in regional accents for each city”. The

display is unbelievably high quality and the voice is simply astounding.

The stranger is struck dumb with admiration. “That’s not all”, says Jake. He pushes a few

more buttons and a tiny but very high-resolution map of New York City appears on the

display. “The flashing dot shows our location by satellite positioning,” explains Jake.

“Zoom out”, Jake says, and the display changes to show all of eastern New York state.

“I want to buy this watch!” says the stranger.

“Oh, no, it’s not ready for sale yet; I’m still working out the bugs”, says the inventor.

“But look at this”, and he proceeds to demonstrate that the watch is also a very

creditable little FM radio receiver with a digital tuner, a sonar device that can measure

distances up to 125 meters, a pager with thermal paper printout and, most impressive of

all, the capacity for voice recordings of up to 300 standard-size books, “though I only

have 32 of my favorites in there so far” says Jake.

“I’ve got to have this watch!”, says the stranger.

“No, you don’t understand; it’s not ready…”

“I’ll give you $1000 for it!”

“Oh, no, I’ve already spent more than…”

“I’ll give you $5000 for it!”

“But it’s just not…”

“I’ll give you $15,000 for it!” And the stranger pulls out a checkbook.

Jake stops to think. He’s only put about $8500 into materials and development, and with

$15,000 he can make another one and have it ready for merchandising in only six months.

The stranger frantically finishes writing the check and waves it in front of him. “Here it

is, ready to hand to you right here and now. $15,000. Take it or leave it.”

Jake abruptly makes his decision. “OK”, he says, and peels off the watch.

They make the exchange and the stranger starts happily away.

“Hey, wait a minute”, calls Jake after the stranger, who turns around warily.

Jake points to the two suitcases he’d been trying to wrestle through the bus station.

“Don’t forget your batteries.”

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