A Wristwatch Named Karen

By Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall (Rated G)

Okay, that’s really not fair. Every Karen I have every known is a joy to be around. Let’s just say that I have a wristwatch with a bossy ‘tude.

This summer someone near and dear to me gave me one of those clever computerized watches to replace my classic (old) $8 Timex.

Karen-the-Watch features a big screen onto which I can easily sweep dozens of different faces. I picked the one most like my minimalist (old) Timex with sweep hands and plain numbers that light up all the time, the day, the date, and, as a tribute to our ancestors who followed lunar calendars, a moon phase image.

When I sweep the face up a dashboard with six features appears: wi-fi signal strength meter, a find-the-dumb-phone tap-thing, a battery indicator, an on-off for sounds, a switch to kill the watch’s lights while in a theatre, and a walkie-talkie gadget I haven’t yet figured out.

If I receive a message from Dick Tracy or anyone else, or some other notification (they bounce from the MePhone), I sweep the face down to read it.

Tapping the stem calls up a list of some 47 (I counted) features, including all the applications on my MePhone made available on Karen-the-Watch, only somewhat modified. On a news app, for instance, you see the headlines and maybe a part of the story. If you have more apps on your MePhone you will have more apps on your Karen-the-Watch

Others on the list include pulse, blood oxygen levels (ask your grandpa about femoral sticks for that purpose), ‘phone, pulse, wake-up alarm (soft Viennese music that slowly becomes rather Germanically noisy if you don’t respond), calendar, calculator, compass, and lots of things I’ve yet to figure out.

One of the coolest is an EKG.  I can’t read an EKG, but I can see it on the screen and on the MePhone. All those squiggly lines probably mean something. Maybe it’s a coded message from R (or P – some consonant, anyway).

Karen-the-Watch tracks the number of steps I take and the distance I make. I’m shooting for 6,000 steps and three miles every 24 hours and usually accomplish them. There are little bars for each hour which light up in sequence when you stand up and do something. Sitting at a desk or in front of a legacy (old) television set doesn’t count. If you are sedentary for too long, Karen-the-Watch sends you a message suggesting (sort of like a drill sergeant’s suggestions) that you should get up and move about for a minute or so.

My Karen-the-Watch came with an ugly and uncomfortable rubber strap (what was someone not thinking?) which I quickly replaced with several inexpensive after-market cloth and leather straps from Volga.com (or is it Danube.com – some river, anyway). To change a strap doesn’t require fiddling with spring-loaded pins; you just slide-and-click the straps out and in as necessary.

Karen-the-Watch synchronizes with the MePhone for most purposes, but when they are far away from each other Karen shows the time and tracks fitness but won’t send or receive messages.

The only complaint (first-world problems, right?) is that Karen-the-Watch holds its charge for only about 24 hours. If you’re going on a trip you’ll have to bring along her special little magnetic charger.

Beyond that…but wait…Karen-the-Watch speaks:

“You need to get to the treadmill now. The nice people have better things to do than listen to you babble.”

“Yes, dear.”

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