Thursday, December 08, 2005


My grandparents owned a handsome oval black clock, a Hammond, which ran wonderfully smoothly, and if you spun the second hand backwards, the clock would run backwards.

My older cousin Lennie Epstein, sassy and smart, was visiting. I was--who knows?--maybe 12 at the time.

I had set the clock to to run backwards.

I called to Lennie, in another room, to join me.

"What does 'counterclockwise' mean?" I asked innocently.

A feigned look of disgust. He looked around. His face lit up. "Do you see that clock? Do you see--" He did a classic double-take. He stared at the clock. He smiled.

"Is that why you called me in here?" he asked, as if I had wasted his time--but he was still grinning.

"Yes," I said triumphantly.

Forty or 50 years later, I reminded him of this triumph. He didn't remember it.

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