Why do face clocks and watches still exist? We have a superior way of telling time now. Who the hell is still using a face clock? And why do we require kids to learn how to tell time, by using a face clock, in school?
When I was in the second grade, I remember the teacher banning digital watches from class while we were learning to tell time. If anyone had a digital watch, she would take it from them and give it back at the end of the day. At random times during the day, our teacher would ask if any of us knew what time it was. The first person to raise their hand with the correct answer would get a prize from that stupid prize box that teachers would use, the ones that were full of a bunch of things that fell somewhere between school supplies and Happy Meal toys. So you'd learn to tell time on a face clock, and then you'd get something like a goblin that you could stick on the end of your pencil like an eraser. It wasn't an eraser though, so it was pointless, which was sort of fitting since so was being able to tell time on a face clock.
The idea, of course, was to teach kids how to tell time in case they were in a situation where digital clocks were not available to them. If we became overly dependent of digital clocks to tell us what time it was, were we to ever find ourselves in a situation in which these digital clocks had abandoned us, we'd be screwed. So it was important that we learned to tell time on face clocks as some sort of insurance policy. That makes sense, right? ...right?
Everyone goes through that phase as a child were you assume that every adult is smart. From the time you were born to around 13 or so, every adult seemed like a genius to you. Your teachers, your school janitor, the president, and your racist uncle all weighed in at about the same thing on your mental intellect scale. So you pretty much assumed that anything that an adult told you was true. If they told you that you were supposed to eat your vegetables, then you believed that you were supposed to eat your vegetables. If they told you that you were supposed to go to church, then you believed that you were supposed to go to church. If they told you that you shouldn't watch so much television, then you believed that you shouldn't watch so much television. Whether or not you actually did what they said is a different story, but even when you did't listen to them, in the back of your mind you pretty much believed that they were probably right.
Yet, even as a stupid kid in the second grade, I was still able to see the obvious flaw of being told by adults, who I thought were smart, that learning to tell time on a face clock was important. The entire argument in favor of learning to use a face clock was, as I said before, that it was important to know how to use one in case that was the only type of clock available to you. I knew as a kid that I didn't buy that argument for a second. I couldn't do much about it, though. So I learned how to tell time using a face clock like I was told, and I got my stupid goblin pencil ornament that I threw out two minutes later after I realized that I actually needed to be able to erase things sometimes.
My objection to the face clock argument was always simply this: WHY THE HELL WOULD THAT EVER BE THE ONLY TYPE OF CLOCK AVAILABLE TO ME?! We have a superior way to tell time now. There's no excuse to keep around an inferior clock. If you have a face clock, then there's no need for you to even bother looking at it, BECAUSE IT'S ALWAYS TIME FOR YOU TO GET A NEW CLOCK.
What other thing do we keep around after coming up with a superior replacement for it? Do we still insist that kids learn to program a VCR in case all the DVD and Blu Ray players mysteriously vanish all of a sudden? Do we make people learn to drive a horse and carriage in Drivers Ed in case they're ever in a situation where there are no cars around? I defy anyone to name I thing that we've kept around after coming up with a superior replacement for it. You don't even have to name II, just name I.
And now it's even worse, because now we live in a time when practically every person alive has a cellphone, a computer, a television, a microwave, a coffee maker, and a car that tells them the superior, digital time. If you're one of the two people on the planet who has none of those things, then that's okay, because the first person you encounter will have at least three of them on themselves at the time. The only reason I could possibly think of for anyone to have a face clock in the year 2010 is so that when it stops working you can make that dumb joke about it still being right twice a day. Everyone has already heard that joke a million times. If you're still making that joke then the only time your clock is right is when it's telling you that it's time to come up with some new jokes.
So why are we still forcing kids to learn how to use these inferior, face clocks in schools? The new argument seems to be "Well, it can't hurt you to know how to tell time on a face clock. So what's the harm?" I'll tell you what the harm is. Anything that is taught in schools has the potential to flunk students who don't learn it. That means that your kids could potentially fail for not learning something that doesn't even matter. On the flip side of that, they could fail to learn something else that actually is important, and then the useless crap that they've learned could bring their average up to passing. So basically the more useless information that's taught in schools, the more likely it is that students will pass without learning the important stuff, and the more likely it is that students who do learn the important things will fail.
Then people wonder why so many kids drop out of school. Maybe it's because everytime they look up at the face clock on their classroom wall, they realize how much time they've wasted learning a bunch of bullshit that's going to be of no use to them in the real world.