Standing Up for Myself (When My Watch Tells Me To)

It not only tells me time, but what to do.

Jim Nolan
3 min readSep 2, 2023
This is going on my resumé.

My goals are, for the most part, not only unrealized but unarticulated. Wiser people have theirs written down and carefully planned, with step-by-step pathways to accomplishment.

I, on the other hand, leave it to my Apple Watch.

I do whatever it wants me to do and call it a day.

Every so often it asks me to get off my comfortable couch and stand. “Jim, you can do this,” I tell myself. Fortunately I can set my own “Stand goal” to as many hours per day I want.

One or two ought to do it, I figure. This way my record of success is uninterrupted. Day after day, victory. It’s not hard to imagine Tim Cook, in Cupertino, taking notice.

“Nolan’s done it again.”

“Tim, we need to talk about supply chain challenges in China.”

“Challenges? How about the challenge of a writer getting off the couch twice a day? Do you know what those people are like?”

My watch bosses me around in other ways, too. It tells me when to go beddy-bye, if not in those exact words. It tells me when to wake up. I dare not disappoint it. Maybe I’m being a bit paranoid, but someone from Apple could show up at my door and want the watch back. There may have been some clause tucked away in the small print when I bought it, mandating I live up to my sleep and stand commitments or lose the privilege of wearing one. They know my every move, or lack of movement. They are literally Watching me.

And its long hands continue to reach into my life. I just had Covid for the first time. It was able to tell me my blood oxygen level without my having to visit the doctor’s office. It can tell me my pulse rate. And whether my heart is beating abnormally and alert me if so. At a recent Parliament/Funkadelic concert, it told me I was risking hearing loss, as measured by decibels (it was worth it).

In the unlikely case I get lost hiking in the Alaskan bush or lose my mast to a rogue wave while sailing the Pacific, it can guide me to aim itself at the nearest satellite to tell someone to come and get me. It’s almost worth getting lost just to test it, but that would require getting off the couch. Nah.

Is a so-called smart watch smart for you? Of course, only you can decide. It will eventually worm its way into every aspect of your life, from health to contactless payment to directions to family planning. It will replace your other watches in quick order. And you will become its willing drone, unable to resist its siren call to do whatever it says (and it actually has a siren).

That’s what happened to me, anyway.

Well, except for not leaving the Parliament/Funkadelic concert. You have to draw the line somewhere.



Jim Nolan

Jim’s humor writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Funny Times,, McSweeneys Internet Tendency, and on WBFO public radio.