DOES ANYBODY REALLY KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS? Final examination in introductory price theory this morning. Big room, 74 students eager to give it a shot. The Standard Time Recorder analog clock (the kind we used to refer to as "slaved" to a "master") in the front of the room is telling us it's 4.27. Central Standard Time is close to 10 am at that observation.

Improvise. Set countdown timer on cheap Timex to 1:50:00 (that gives the circuitry a workout as its more common use is a six minute or ten minute countdown for Laser racing.) Show setting to several students. Announce that once all exams are distributed, clock's on. Distribute tests. Start clock. Work out a checklist of what countdown time (1:35, 1:20, 1:05, ...) corresponds to the quarter hours, and post the quarter hours on the blackboard. Must have gotten the degree of difficulty right as few people were around as the counter approached zero.

Back to the office. Notice a nice stack of clear hardwood, stained with a slightly plummy cast, to go with the Calamine lotion and spilt milk wallboard in the remodeled deans' quarters downstairs. Wonder how many clock repairs that would buy. Contemplate the slightly noisy exhaust fan in the room with the non-functioning clock that sounds a little bit like somebody is listening to rock with the headphones dialed way down, and wonder when that will either seize or be replaced. Dedicate this Chicago song, particularly the "does anybody really care?" line, to headquarters.

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