Running from the Grim Reaper

August 11, 2014 | By | Reply More

I’m starting to run for exercise, but I couldn’t find a watch. My old watches have dead batteries because I’ve long used my phone to know the time. Except . . . I DO have one working watch, but it is highly specialized. It is my new Tikker existential watch. You set it up with your life expectancy and it counts down to your expected day of death. As you can see, I have about 23 years 9 months to go, give or take a few seconds. The Tikker website includes a video touting the bright side of having a constant reminder that your life on the planet is limited and dwindling. I should add that I have no ownership interest in the company that makes this watch. I simply like the concept, one that I first heard decades ago when uttered by a friend of mine, Tom Ball, who unfortunately was not in a position to invent a watch to go with his idea.

In the short time I’ve owned this watch, half the people I’ve shown it to are aghast, and the other half are delighted. My favorite use is something like this: You are an introvert (like me) trapped at a social gathering. You’d rather be elsewhere. One quick glance at this specialized watch will give you the incentive to say something like this: “Sorry, I need to go. I only have 23 years and 9 months left to live, and I have other things to attend to tonight.” Surely, no one is going to make the claim that any particular social gathering is more important than every one of the other things that you need to do before your final breath. Or, if they resist, you can always race them to the door.

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Tonight I used a lesser-function of my Tikker watch: the part that tells you the time. This allowed me to know how long I was running.

There really is an existential aspect to wearing this watch. Running with a Tikker watch is like running down the street while being chased by the Grim Reaper. This watch might actually improve your running time while adding a bit of time to your life expectancy by making you a bit healthier. That’s how I see it tonight. In 10 years, I might not be so glib about this gadget.

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Category: Meaning of Life

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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