Following on from a poem I wrote recently entitled The Gift of Shower Gel - Christmas Eve 1997 in which I explore what my eleven year old self considered as successful and, er, less successful presents, I'd like to expand further on its last line:
"would kiss two cheeks twice for a calculator watch."
Of course, by 1997 my wrist already sported a calculator watch, as was the fashion of the day. But there was an upgrade. Always an upgrade. I prayed that Santa knew his Casio from his Seiko and had what Bill Bailey calls "The Laminated Book of Dreams" in his reference library, otherwise known as the Argos catalogue.
During the first or second year of Secondary School, my beloved Casio Calculator Watch went missing. When I say went missing, I mean a substitute P.E Teacher stole it. It went into his sports bag before a lesson one day and - like the teacher - was never seen again.
My mum wrote to my tutor and after a little bit of wrangling, was given a cheque to cover the price of the stolen watch. Then, miraculously, the light-fingered teacher found it "within the lining of his sports bag". He offered to give it back, but by that time I had my heart set on the upgrade. And 14 years on, this watch still adorns my wrist.
I recently had a new battery fitted. The watch has still retained names and numbers of my primary school friends within its data bank to this day. However, one piece of information that has returned after a sizeable hiatus is the scrolling reminder:
It scrolls beside the date 27th February. "MGSOLID" refers to Metal Gear Solid and 27th February (I had assumed up till now) refers to the date this was released on the Playstation in 1998. However, a Wikipedia search reveals that it wasn't until later that year on 16 November 1998 that it was released in the UK. 2-27 could relate to my membership number at the local video shop, but it's unlikely. The point is, I was so excited about Metal Gear Solid being released that I updated my watch to remind myself about it.
So here's to my Casio mark II and to Metal Gear Solid, one of the best video games I've ever played!