Monday, March 20, 2017

How I found time for Happiness in Trumpland...

From the Jay Johnson Mickey Mouse Watch Collection
I remember it was an ad in the Houston Chronicle in the late 1960's. I was living in Houston at the time working at Astroworld. The Advertisement was from Neiman-Marcus located in the Galleria and it was a full page.  They announced sale of "Imported" Mickey Mouse Wrist Watches ... imported from Disneyland for a limited time.  The only place you could get this watch was Disneyland, and now for a short time Neiman- Marcus.

I wasn't looking for a new watch.  I wasn't a customer of Neiman-Marcus, I have never seen an ad like that before or since. But, I had to have one of those watches before they were all gone.  The ad said limited time. I assumed a limited number of watches.

I drove to Galleria immediately, and made my way to the watch counter.  Neiman -Marcus hires only top notch salespeople and this guy tried to interest me in a more "mature" watch, but my mind was set.  It was the first watch I ever bought for myself and it replaced a Christmas gift watch my parents gave me 10 years earlier.

I loved this new Mickey Mouse watch. I wore it out after replacing three crystals, and having several major repairs.  Each jeweler who repaired it over the years said the same thing, "The repair will probably cost more than a new watch..." I didn't care.  The minute by minute show that Mickey performed on my wrist daily was worth any price to me.

Wrist watches in the 70's and 80's were fashion statements, and status symbols.  While my television friends displayed new Cartier's or Rolexes, I continued to sport Mickey.  I was known for wearing that watch; it was my personal statement.  I even wrote a ventriloquist act around a "talking Mickey Mouse watch" and performed it on stage over the years. When asked why I wore a Mickey Mouse watch I would always say.. "It puts my daily life in perspective... running late for an important meeting.... you glance a Mickey and when he tells you the time... nothing seems to be so serious." Years later I was completely vindicated when Dan Brown wrote his best selling novel, the Da Vinci Code. His hero Robert Langdon the Harvard professor, wore a Mickey Mouse wrist watch.  I was way ahead of that fashion curve.

After Sandi and I settled in Southern California I discovered that the Clock Shop at Disneyland always had the latest model of Mickey Mouse Watch for sale. It was easy to find a cheap kids version of the Mickey Watch, but the Clock Shop at Disneyland had good watches that happened to have a Mickey on the Face.  Visiting the park over the years I gathered a big collection of Mickey Mouse wrist watches and I still have them.

Sandi would often gift me with more "age appropriate watches", as she put it, in keeping with the style and level of my showbiz career at the time.  Once while on tour with Julie Andrews, she gave me an expensive watch engraved with "Love Julie" on the back. I would wear it to "functions" on occasion when we had to dress formally, but I was never as comfortable nor happy if I wasn't relying on Mickey to tell me the time of day.  Eventually I bought a very expensive 14k gold Mickey Mouse watch from the Clock Shop at Disneyland. It was a  themed out "gold watch" they used to give retiring executives of the Disney corporation.  As a regular customer at the Disneyland Clock shop, I was able to talk the shop keeper into selling me the display model.  As the price of gold began to sore through the years I could only wear the watch to extra special occasions.

So eventually cell phones began to dominate our culture.  No need for a wrist watch you had to manually change for each time zone, and replace a battery at the worst possible time.  The cell phone kept perfect time.  Eventually the battery ran down on my Mickey and by the time I got around to replacing it, I was used to digging in my pocket for my phone to get the current time of day. A wrist watch was one less thing to put on in the morning so... eventually I quit wearing a watch at all. This would be a horrible decision looking back on it.

So now here we are in March of 2017.  We have a complete idiot for President who daily makes news with one statement after the next which turns my blood to acid.  His mere presence in the oval office offends my Patriotism and depresses my entire countenance of good feelings.  Unfortunately he is not going away soon enough for me. He is not getting better, and since I can only be responsible for myself, I have to ignore the orange faced fascist.  This becomes harder to do than I thought.

I have given up watching the news.  I have purged my Facebook friends of those who might be inclined to normalize him or god forbid like him.  I try to avoid speaking his name or engaging in any discussions of his existence.  Unfortunately his kind of "stupid" seems to be epidemic and is infecting everything.

Here is how it happens.  I think to myself "What time is it anyway?" I am currently not wearing a watch, so,  I reach for my iPhone and hit the button. At the same moment I see the time, there, on the same screen, is a push notice, or flash announcement of some ignorant Tweet or other news worthy obnoxious action by the President. My blood boils, my eyes narrow, my teeth begin to sharpen and I'm livid that he is still alive in the White house.  It is not healthy, and all because I wondered what time it was.

Recently I saw one of my favorite Mickey's in a drawer.  I wondered if it still worked so I took it to my watch repair guy at the Fashion Square.  All it needed was a battery.  I placed Mickey back on my wrist and have had a much better attitude toward life in Trumpland since.  Now if I want to know what time it is I look to where Mickey is pointing;  no hint of POS 45 nor any of his lunacy.  Mickey, who four times a day spreads his arms out wide to say, "I love you this much"  Four more times a day, At ten minutes till 2:00 and ten minutes after 10:00 he shrugs a WTF pose and at 6:30 he plays with himself.  I feel like a kid again.  I am not reminded of any election PTSD that pollutes the news these days.  I can pretend that life is caricature of itself and the orange President is just so much ink on a page.  It keeps everything in perspective.... why... because we like you.
As you were,
Jay

2 comments:

P. Grecian said...

Forever let us hold our banner high!

Lloyd Lebow said...

I stopped wearing a each 30 years ago. Now you've made me want to go to Disneylands clock shop and change all that. Partly because I too love Mickey watches and partly to be connected symbolically to someone who shares my intensely visceral response to orange man in the White House. Stay strong.