For our prompt of “Buttons” today, my mind went to something Philippe and I had inexplicably been discussing recently. This is, of course, a wonder of technology that really hit its stride in the 80’s. Every nerd like me just had to have one. Why would anyone want a watch that was only capable of telling time, after all? Casio is certainly the company that made the calculator watch popular by offering an endless array of various styles. And since this was a time when technology was slow enough to still wow us every now and again, these watches seemed rather amazing. Of course, actually using one and understanding all of the functions took a bit of time. Besides the added buttons for the calculator itself, there were other extra buttons on the sides. These were labeled with letters in the the manual, but once on one’s wrist it was just a test of memory. What I love is that these are still available today. It’s no surprise really. In a world of touchscreen blocks, these are much more interesting objects. Philippe and I were looking at the latest varieties and considered getting one, but failed to make a purchase. Instead, I figured I’d just honor this tech marvel in a little doodlewash.
I’ve always been a big geek when it comes to technology. It’s amazing what’s possible today that seemed so impossible just a decade before this. Though I had a calculator watch, I wasn’t particularly into math so it was really just for all of the buttons. It felt like I was wearing something that could do even more than the manual boasted, like some cool gadget worn by James Bond. In the end, of course, I couldn’t take down a criminal mastermind with this particular watch, unless a simple math equation was the only way to diffuse a bomb of some kind. No, instead, I did what all the other kids did and typed things in numbers that turned into words when viewed upside down. These was endless fun. I would start with the usual “07734,” which magically transforms into “hello.” Though most boys my age weren’t content with this one and would continually type “58008,” because it spelled “boobs,” and then giggle triumphantly as it they were the first to ever figure that one out. For my own part, I found that could actually create something a bit more personal by typing the number 5073145.0, which, when viewed upside down, becomes “O’Shields,” complete with apostrophe.
These little hacks were so much fun, but today, you can just talk into a phone and have it give you an answer in return. There’s not as much to hack when the technology is advanced enough to do everything you imagined and more. And indeed, there’s not even a need to press or even have a button in many cases. But, I miss the fun of the early digital days. There was no secret as to what your incredible piece of technology could or couldn’t do as it was clearly visible by the number of buttons present. Sadly, I don’t still have the watch that I had when I was younger. Like many prized possessions, they stop being a prize at some point, get lost over time, and simply become a wistful memory. Yet, as the world lurches forward with new technologies, I’ll always have a soft spot for the first ones that shaped the world we know today. And as technology leaps too quickly to impress us anymore, these objects will always hold their allure. I’m still excited to see what fabulous new technology will arrive next, but whatever happens, it’s unlikely to ever dull the lovely glow that can be found in my dreams of a calculator watch.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Vermilion, Cobalt Turquoise, Indigo, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!