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Why I Wear A Digital Watch

Awesomeness! And other reasons
By Mayim Bialik     Published on 04/04/2016 at 9:34 AM EDT

I have worn a digital watch since I was about 14 years old. I’m 40 now. That’s 26 years of solid digital watch-wearing. I think it’s pretty impressive, don’t you?

Before you answer that, consider that I started wearing digital watches just after the nerdy boys in my junior high started wearing them. The year was 1990 and it was not at all hip to be square, despite Huey Lewis telling us it was. No, nerds were just nerds then and things were simpler all around. There wasn’t this nerd/geek distinction like there is now. You were either cool (which I most certainly wasn’t) or you were not. Come to think of it, I fell into the “not” category but there was a separate category for the people who had things thrown at them and who were teased really bad. Those people are your bosses now. They were nerds. (For the distinction between, check out this piece I wrote about the distinctions!)

The boys in my school who wore digital watches used them for their calculator swagger. I’m not sure why else. They were waterproof, which seemed a more useful feature for my brother, four years my senior and super smart but also hip and pretty darn cool. So he went to swim parties and presumably wore his watch underwater. The nerdy boys in my junior high? Not so much.

As for me, I started wearing a digital watch probably because my brother did and everything he did was cool to me. But as I grew in my nerdiness and started becoming interested in marine biology and academics, I decided that I was “a digital watch person” and I embraced it. I suppose that’s when I became not just a nerd, but a geek as well. That’s where I am with it now, and have been for 25 years.

Here are my top reasons I love my digital watch in no particular order:

  1. It’s functional. It tells time and keeps time for more than one time zone. As a teenager, I simply would pick a time zone (say, New York) and always be able to know what time it was in New York. Sometimes we went to New York and boy did it come in handy then!
  2. It has awesome features. Geeks like me like gadgets and a digital watch is a gadget on your wrist. My current digital watch has a light which is just one of those things that really excites me. If you are not excited by a watch with a light, you are probably much cooler than I am. If you are a person who is excited about a watch with a light, you most likely could be my friend very quickly. It’s just one of those things.
  3. Awesomeness. My beloved digital watch (which I had for most of my teen years and loved so hard that the band wore out repeatedly and I kept paying to replace it even though the replacement bands were never exactly like the original bands because there was no internet, children, and we had to make do) had an upper region of the face of the watch which featured the planets rotating in accordance with how they rotated in the actual universe. Oh my gosh it was amazing. It was a thing of beauty. You could see where Haley’s Comet would come in the solar system as indicated by a ring and a tiny arrow. Like, “Here’s the orbit of Haley’s Comet!” It made me so happy, that watch. I literally felt a thrill every time I used it. Oh, did I love that watch. Once the band broke for good, for years after that, I carried it around tethered to my purse or backpack, attached by a length of army cord. It was like my lovey. I know, it’s weird. But it was hard to let that watch go.
  4. I buck the system. I don’t care what’s hip. I reject conventional notions of trendiness and fashion. I wear what I want even if it’s not hip. Because I am that person. And yes: you guessed right: I also like weird music, gravitate towards moody artists who no one else understands, I like the dark moody artist boys who no one understands, and I wear torn fishnets and black lipstick. At least that was my vibe in my teen years. Now, my digital watch still means I buck the system, and it still means I like weird music and guys no one understands and I do sometimes wear fishnets but not the torn kind. And I haven’t worn black lipstick in years but I own 3 tubes. So the point is, as much as not being trendy was important to me as a teenager, it’s still important to me now. My watch declares that.
  5. I am the only cast member of “The Big Bang Theory” who wears a digital watch. My character wears one, but she wears a “women’s” digital watch which is slimmer and, presumably, more “feminine.” In real life, I wear men’s digital watches because I like all of the functions and features with none of the femininity.

Those are my reasons I wear a digital watch. And I wear it proudly!

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