Anonymous Postcard: Claim Detail

Claim No.: 029420090107

David Rooney, Curator of Timekeeping, Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Dear Mr. Rooney,

Thank you for the prompt reply to the anonymous postcard I submitted. And let me first say: you, sir, do not suck. Or, rather, I have no reason to believe that you do suck, and will continue to have no reason until disabused. My original post was intended for the recipient "2008." The administrators of this site seem to have sent it to you in error, and now, 2008 no longer being with us, it is too late to correct their mistake. I'm sorry about most of that.

Listen though. While I have you here I have a few questions. I'd like to know, for instance, what the Curator of Timekeeping does. Could you walk us through a typical day? Are there lots of instruments to check, faders to move up and down, gears to keep un-mucked--that sort of thing? Or do you spend your time in endless meetings hashing out daylight savings questions and discussing the asynchronicities in the lunar and solar calendars? And (it occurs to me now) if those meetings are excessively boring, as many business meetings, in my opinion, tend to be--do you spend the whole time watching the clock? If so, can anyone fault you? Isn't that, after all, pretty much your job description?

A few more questions bubble up: What sort of watch does a fellow like you wear? And do they pay you to wear it, as sports stars are paid to wear particular athletic shoes?

What, exactly, does one study to get your job? If you were advising a young person, still wet behind the ears, who wanted to pursue a career in something temporal, where might you tell them to start?

Congrats on getting that extra second in at the end of the year. It was seamless. And thanks for all you do. Can't imagine where we'd be if time were left to run wild and unsupervised. Again, my sincere apologies about the mix up on the first postcard. And a very very happy 2009 to you.

Mailed: 2009-01-21


You've no idea the relief I experienced to discover I was not the sucker. I think that parts of 2008 certainly did suck, so I'm with you there. So far, 2009 seems pretty good, but at only February I think it's a bit too early to call, so I'm keeping my options open. Such is the linearity of western thought.

That extra second right at the end of 2008 was good, wasn't it. Free time. But the timekeeping powers-that-be always choose midnight on New Year's Eve. Do we really appreciate that little gift like we should? I was partying at home with friends and was a little overwhelmed at midnight, what with the whole New Year's Eve, auld lang syne sort of thing, and didn't really notice the second. But I'd done, like, 26 live radio and TV interviews in a row by then that day, so I hope you can forgive me.

The matter of the watch I wear. As you could possibly guess, I have many. Some people build their outfit each morning from the shoes, or the jacket, or the bag. I start with the wristwear. I did a BBC radio show called 'Saturday Live' recently and they asked the same question you did. I had chosen a somewhat butch radio-corrected jobbie and they photographed my wrist for their website, and then it's in their Photo Gallery somewhere. I truly wish someone would rent my wrist. I've been suggesting it all round Switzerland but nobody bit yet. I live in hope.

How to get a job in time... Hmm. Don't get ahead of yourself. Take your time. Would you expect me to say anything less corny? Actually, I'm still wet behind the ears myself, so don't pay any attention to anything I say.

Is that the time? I'd better go. Thanks for clearing up that earlier matter. And have a great time.



All images copyright Tucker Nichols