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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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Time Waits For No Man!

David Pollack, '37

The Magpie, January 1937, v. 21, n. 1., p. 56.

"You think she'll like it?" I asked Frank as he looked the watch over. "It's guaranteed to keep perfect time."

"It's a nice watch," Frank commented sarcastically, "but—"

"But what?" I queried, wondering what it was that he found wrong with the timepiece.

"Why, nothing. Only, here you're giving Edith a darn pretty wristwatch for her birthday, one that's guaranteed to keep perfect time, but do you think she'll even notice whether it does or not? It'll be just a new kind of bracelet to her."

"I don't get it," I said doubtfully. "Do you mean to say that a girl doesn't give a hoot about time, that she just doesn't care?"

"Say, have you just found that out? How many times have you called for a girl, and found her ready to go?"

"Listen, fella," he continued, "can you read a woman's watch?"

I hesitated. "No, not exactly, I'd have to decipher it first," I confessed.

"There you are," Frank said triumphantly, "no one can. You can't tell the top from the bottom, and the hands are both the same length, too."

I stared at the watch, as he handed it back. It was long and narrow. There weren't any numbers on the face—just little jewels where the figures ought to be.

Frank sank into the soft, deep club chair and lighted his pipe.

"Time, to women," he said philosophically, "is just another of life's mysteries." He pulled deeply and exhaled a cloud of smoke. "It's like water to them; it's always being wasted and over drawn."

"Take my girl friend, Milly, for example. She has the typical feminine attitude towards time and appointments," he said sadly. "I dropped over to see her last Saturday night. Before leaving my house, I called her up and told her I'd be around at about seven-thirty. Well, when I got there, I found milady in her boudoir in the middle of her toilette."

" 'Say,' I said to her, 'I thought you promised to be ready when I called tonight. Why aren't you?'

"And you know what she said?"

"No, what?" I asked.

"She said, 'Oh, I had no idea it was so late! I'll be with you in a jiffy.'

"Well, we finally left the house at about nine o'clock."

"But men are late too, sometimes'" I ventured, wondering how such a radical remark would be received.

"Oh, sure," he replied. "Most of the time, though, we can't help ourselves. It's generally because we have to work late or there is a real emergency. A woman, though, will leave you standing on a corner a half hour because she happened to walk by a window with some 'perfectly marvelous bargains' in hats or gloves. The store has been up since 1881, but she has to rush right in before it 'folds up.'

"Then again—ask a man the time and he'll say seven-thirty-seven or seven-thirty-eight, if that's what his watch says. But a woman knows only quarter hours. Everything up to seven-forty is seven-thirty, and after that until seven-fifty-five, it's a quarter to eight.

"Another thing—"

Frank stopped suddenly and stared at his watch.

"Holy mackerel!" he squawked. "It's almost eight! I've got to beat it!"

He bolted for the door, pulling on his coat as he flew.

"I was supposed to meet Milly at seven thirty!" he called back as he disappeared through the door.

The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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