Watch

Jake is struggling through an airport terminal with two huge and
obviously heavy suitcases when a stranger walks up to him and
asks: “Have you got the time?”

Jake sighs, puts down the suitcases and glances at his wrist.
“It’s a quarter to six”, he says.

“Hey, that’s a pretty fancy watch!” exclaims the stranger.

Jake brightens a little. “Yeah, it’s not bad. Check this out…”
And he shows him a time zone display not just for every time
zone in the world, but for the 86 largest metropolis. He hits a
few buttons and from somewhere on the watch a voice says “The
time is eleven till six” in a very West Texas accent. A few more
buttons and the same voice says something in Japanese. Jake
continues, “I’ve put in regional accents for each city. The
display is unbelievably high quality and the voice is simply
astounding.” The stranger is struck dumb with admiration.

“That’s not all…”, says Jake. He pushes a few more buttons and
a tiny but very hi-resolution map of New York City appears on
the display. “The flashing dot shows our location by satellite
positioning”, explains Jake. “View recede ten,” Jake says, and
the display changes to show eastern New York state.

“I want to buy this watch!” Says the stranger.

“Oh, no, it’s not ready for sale yet; I’m still working out the
bugs,” says the inventor. “But look at this,” and he proceeds to
demonstrate. “The watch is also a very creditable little FM
radio receiver with a digital tuner, a sonar device that can
measure distances up to 125 meters, a pager with thermal paper
printout and, most impressive of all, the capacity for voice
recordings of up to 300 standard-size books, though I only have
32 of my favorites in there so far.” Says Jake.

“I’ve got to have this watch!” Says the stranger.

“No, you don’t understand; it’s not ready.”

“I’ll give you $1000 for it!”

“Oh, no, I’ve already spent more than…”

“I’ll give you $5000 for it!”

“But it’s just not…”

“I’ll give you $15,000 for it!” And the stranger pulls out a
checkbook.

Jake stops to think. He’s only put about $8,500 into materials
and development, and with $15,000 he can make another one and
have it ready for merchandising in only six months. The stranger
frantically finishes writing the check and waves it in front of
him.

“Here it is, ready to hand to you right here and now. $15,000.
Take it or leave it.”

Jake abruptly makes his decision. “OK”, he says, and peels off
the watch and hands it to the stranger.

They make the exchange and the stranger starts happily away.

“Hey, wait a minute.” Calls Jake after the stranger, who turns
around warily. Jake points to the two suitcases he had been
trying to wrestle through the terminal. “Don’t forget your
batteries.”

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