Dear Matthew Alice: All my life I have adversely affected timepieces. Any clock that spends time near me gradually slows and eventually stops keeping time altogether. The process takes about five to ten months, no matter the brand or cost. That’s why I cannot wear watches. I have tried wearing them around my wrist, tucked in a pocket, and also on a chain around my neck, but sooner or later they are broken! Kaput! Nada! A massage practitioner once told me she had heard about this condition before. It has to do with my personal electromagnetic field. — Diane, SDSU
Well, you’ll never convince M.A.’s own Dr. Fizzix of that. The human bod is pretty electrical, but there’s not enough juice to stop a clock. (Assuming, of course, you don’t have a big problem with paper clips and the odd roofing nail whipping through the air and sticking to you. If so, maybe you need Dr. Psychic, not Dr. Fizzix.) Being mostly water, we’re full of hydrogen atoms, each of which contains a zippy proton that generates a tiny, tiny magnetic field as it whizzes around. And maybe that field can affect the cell next door, but it can’t drain your battery or upset your mainspring, even on a wristwatch. Perspiration might corrode watch parts, but your electrical fields aren’t sucking the life out of them. Dr. Fizzix suspects some faulty data-gathering on your part but figures a sundial or hourglass should solve all your problems.