In keeping with the Plague Upon My House, I have now lost my watch. It is a small, delicate antique watch with a rose gold case and some tiny rubies. There are only three places that I keep that watch, and it isn’t in any of them.
I keep going back to each of the three places, obsessively looking for the watch that isn’t there. I feel a pervasive longing for the watch even though I didn’t wear it every day. I’ve tried calling out to it, like a mother calling her child in from outdoors, but it doesn’t appear. I would say I’m heartbroken, but I hate to sound materialistic. Let’s say I’m “annoyed.”
When I complained to my sister last night about the watch, I attributed it to the Ongoing Plague. She stunned me by suggesting a root cause: I don’t have a Mezuzah.
If you don’t know what a Mezuzah is, it’s a metal thing that observant Jews are supposed to put by their front door, I think to ward off bad luck. I really don’t want to know more than that, because that’s stupid enough. The very notion that somehow I could have prevented bad things from happening by performing some ritual is just infuriating. It’s worse that The Secret! It’s superstition packaged in guilt. Maybe I’ve just stumbled upon a definition for religion; In any case, a god that would put a curse on me for not having a Mezuzah is just a total fucker who I want no part of.
Thinking about superstition, I asked my BFF if she would have any problem in reciting the words: “I will probably lose all my teeth and get pancreatic cancer in the next year.” I think most people would hesitate, fearful of tempting fate through some system of cosmic wrath. She dazzled me by reciting the words in a strong, godless voice, and I fell in love with her for the millionth time.
But back to the watch. The missing watch will continue to bother me, probably for eternity, but it reminds me of my favorite line from Pulp Fiction, when Christopher Walkin tells the young Butch the story of his grandfather’s watch. It’s a long, sentimental story that takes a wild turn with the revelation: “Five long years, he wore that watch up his ass.”
The word “wore” in that sentence is the difference between writing and poetry. It’s the best choice of word, one that I could never come up with, one that gives me a fresh thrill of pleasure each time I think of it.
So the moral of this post is as follows: Art is consolation in the face of chaos. (Wear that up your ass!)