Well, I broke it.
It was an alarm clock, a cream-and-gold relic of the 70s. “BABY BEN” it said on the face. “WESTCLOX.”
Before I broke it, a few winds of the key on the back and it would start a quiet, clockwork ticking, until a tinny bell jangled one awake.
I didn’t mean to break it. I was 11 or so, and I wondered how it worked, what moved inside it. I stared at the casing for a while before I got the screwdriver. I visualized what must be happening behind its gold hands: the winding mechanism would have some sort of spring that the key tensioned, a mechanism that must have a spindle (or something) attached to a gear (or three) attached to, uh, something, connected to something, connected to the hands. It seemed very simple until I took it apart.
Five minutes later, I sat above a cookie sheet holding the guts of the clock. There were more somethings than I had expected, in more complex configurations than I had imagined, and what had seemed very simple now seemed ...