The Stopwatch: Use It Wisely

Rod Serling.

If this name means nothing to you, you’re missing out. He was the creator and narrator of one of the greatest television shows of all time: The Twilight Zone. His stories were simple and complex all at the same time, and his messages always made an impact.

There were many New Years Eves when I was younger, spent at home with my family watching marathons of these shows. We had our favorite episodes, and I remember waiting after each beginning to see if it was “the one.”

Now, I can just YouTube whatever the heck I want to see, and I was thinking about one of my favorite episodes this morning, and how it pertains to me right now, and thought I’d blog about it.

Originally airing in October of 1963 was a true gem entitled “A Kind Of A Stopwatch.”

I tried to find a short clip, but the entire episode is on YouTube so watch it if you can. SPOILER ALERT. Don’t read the rest of this if you don’t want to hear the end.

Basically, a very annoying man in his 40s that no one likes, heads to the local bar for a drink after getting fired. He’s pretty much done with everyone and sick of the world. He meets a drunk man who gives him a stopwatch as a gift for buying him a drink, and the man realizes it can stop time. Everything around him stops, the cars, the sounds, the people. He’s amazed by his new power and at first, uses it for fun and games, messing up things at his old office, putting people in weird positions, etc., etc.

But then his mind turns devious, and he decides to rob a bank. On the way out of the robbery, he drops the watch, breaking it, freezing time FOREVER. He frantically tries to push the button to get everything back, but it’s too late. In a cruel, twisted turn of fate, the people and the world he so shunned, became the one thing for which he once again yearned.

How I feel like this pertains to me, is I feel like this guy a lot of the time. I wish I could stop everything, even if just for a minute, and take a breather. I think we all want that.

Sometimes I’m in the middle of an argument with my husband or a friend or a family member, and I just want to push that button and SCREAM as loud as I can, say what I want to say, get the words out, even if just to myself. But on the other hand, fights keep things interesting. Drama makes us stronger, and we can’t just freeze or get away from these moments in our life. We need them. We’d miss them, if they weren’t there.

When my son is throwing a tantrum and I’m trying to work, I would LOVE that stopwatch button. Can you imagine complete and total peace. No kids to run after, no cars or fire alarms outside, no dogs barking, no television or cell phone interruptions. But then again, maybe those distractions and the sounds of the world are something I would miss. Maybe getting too inside your own head, with nothing around you but NOTHING, would be ultimately pretty scary.

I’m often inspired by the most random of things, so maybe the dog barking or the commercial on TV or the email coming in, would only add to my day. Even though we all think we want to get away from it all, we think we want to be alone, we think we’d be happier without all the craziness, I really don’t think we would. 

If I had the stopwatch, I’d try to use it in a positive way. I would press it before I’m ready to say something that I’ll regret. I would press it before I lose my temper with my son or my husband. I would press it so I could stop and look at this amazing world around me, with all its imperfections and instabilities, and realize that we’re all here and part of it for a reason. And that reason shouldn’t be a selfish one.

So if you’re angry today, or bitter, or feel like everything and everyone is just getting on your nerves, remember the man in the story, and how you’d feel if it were all gone.

He got what he wanted, yet he lost everything he ever knew, all in the same day. What we want and what we need are often not the same thing. Use your stopwatch (imaginary or not) for good today. You’ll thank yourself tomorrow.

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About apassionforthepen

I'm a copywriter and owner of A Passion For The Pen, LLC. Also the creator of Let's Meet For Copy courses. Contact me at tara@apassionforthepen.com
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