The Best Mistake

Winter 2010

This starts with that hackneyed question. “If you had it to do over, would you?” I bought this watch on the 30th of October 1994.  I was 24 years old.  How do I know this? I still have the receipt, the case in which it came, and the related paraphernalia.  Aside from these physical reminders, the moment of nervous acquisition is etched in my memory, stored in the area reserved for sexual conquests, bullies bested, and victories at sport.  

It’s all there. The jeweler, Ted Grebitus, almost confused removing the watch from the locked case and passing it to a round-faced, young man. The raging internal battle between desire and good sense. And there’s what I was wearing. A zippered, red, wool jacket lined in a soft cotton Blackwatch (Polo of course), an aging pair of 501’s (29w x 36l), well-worn brown Sperry Topsiders and a white t-shirt.  We were called Preppies.

From my early teens I wanted few things more than I wanted a Rolex.  Not a gold President, not the Air King. Too soft, not enough muscle and purpose.  No, it had to be a GMT Master or a  Submariner.  It had to have a use.  A reason for being strapped to a man’s wrist.  I wanted a companion in Honduras, the Caribbean sea, deserts, mountain tops, and in Paris, Manhattan, or Miami.  I wanted something I could pass down to a son decades on.

How is it I found myself in Grebitus and Sons Jewelers in Sacramento, California, just before closing of a Saturday evening, buying a watch generally reserved for men twice my age?  I had no business there, but like many things in my life - Rolexes and girls included - I jumped the line and grabbed the prize perhaps a little sooner than would have been prudent.  But my life, like my Submariner, has the scratches, nicks, and dents incident to a life lived.  

So, the answer to that hackneyed question? Yes. Absolutely. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

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