WRIGHT THINKING: Times have changed

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The most cunningly evil psychological trick I ever heard of involved three snakes and a hotel room.

You placed them in said room and then told the unlucky resident that there were FOUR of the creatures hidden there.

He would search, with maximum help, but be totally unable to sleep for worrying about the non-existent little beast wandering around.

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On a lesser scale, I wonder if, as I am, you are wondering which clock you forgot to turn back two Saturdays ago.

This twice yearly cycle must consume millions of hours of effort with plusses and minuses compared to previous generations.

In days gone by, there were probably only one or two clocks in the whole house, but how times have changed.

Happily, many modern gadgets like TV boxes and central heating systems sort themselves out, and the availability of cheapish radio controlled clocks is handy.

Without a doubt, though, you will always find one little beast which needs to be changed manually – and you forgot it.

Some years ago, a friend was showing off his new radio controlled watch to his young son and telling him that the time would automatically change at two’o’clock in the morning.

The youngster insisted on staying up to see it happen – and they both fell fast asleep at five to two.

The thing I’ve noticed lately is that some of the younger generation, who have grown up with a mobile phone welded to their ears, don’t even wear a watch any more, but rely on the phone display.

Time was, if you’ll pardon the pun, when traditional watches and clocks played a huge part in key moments of life.

When a young person reached a 21st birthday, the former age of adulthood, a good watch was a very traditional gift.

At the other end of the life scale, a gold (or imitation gold) clock was frequently given as a retirement gift.

It always seemed an odd present for someone who was going to have a lot of time on his hands – or perhaps the thinking was that you could set the alarm every morning and smile as you turned it off and turned over.

Perhaps one of the most famous clocks in Hartlepool in years gone by was the magnificent beast which used to hang outside Lamb’s the Jewellers in Lynn Street.

As well as a useful check, it was one of the spots used by courting couples who would “meet under the clock”.

If a young lady or chap had been stood up, there was an established technique employed to try to give the impression that you were standing there for the good of your health.

No one was ever taken in!

I’ll leave you with one of the best time-related gags ever written, courtesy of the late and wonderful Reg Smythe – a Hartlepool man who became world famous with one of the best ever comic strip creations.

His hero Andy Capp was walking home in the early hours carrying a trumpet.

His friend Chalkie was curious and Andy told him that he carried it because his watch was broken.

Seeing his mate’s puzzled look, Andy let out a huge blast on the instrument.

A window opened, and the awakened resident shouted, “Which idiot is playing a trumpet at half past one in the morning?”