Of monkeys, angels, burning typewriters and anal retentive clocks: Looking for the perfect gift


(To the last syllable of recorded time indeed…)

Yesterday, I spent almost three hours trying to buy a birthday gift for someone. On my Ulysses style journey I must have passed at least fifty bars, none of which I entered.

True love and all of that – or just me being too anal retentive for my own good, forever fearful to settle with something less than perfect.

Yes, I did manage to find her something, thank you – but this has nothing to do with her and only very marginally more so with me.

It’s just that I read something, a few hours ago, that made me think of perfect gifts – and about anal retentives.

I mean, if the following isn’t the perfect gift for someone who puts all his old LPs in alphabetical order just before donating the whole lot to Oxfam, I don’t know what would be:

“Perfect timekeeping has taken a step closer to reality after scientists developed a clock that loses just a second every 300 million years. The researchers claim the new atomic clock is more than twice as accurate as timepieces currently used to regulate international time zones and satellite systems.”

My only niggling question is, How do they know?

Surely, if that clock would have lost that second, let’s say, in the first week (or month even) would people assume it would not lose another handful or so, for the rest of those 299 million years, 11 months and a bit?

What’s more, if it didn’t mislay that second early on, who would hang around for another 10, 20, 100, or, God forbid, 299 million years, 11 months, 30 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and, who knows, 59 seconds, before the clock would finally manage to lose that one bloody second…?

I’d rather watch monkeys type Shakespeare manuscripts blindfolded than keep an eye on that damn clock – or count the angels doing the Can-can on the head of a pin, hidden in a burning haystack.

Still, if you do know someone who is not that fussy about one drop lost in an ocean of time but does live in fear of missing his or her train because of being late in the coming 300 million years or so, then this clock is the perfect gift for such a person.

(I KNOW the song is not about clocks: Gods, how anal can you get...?)

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