Tag Archives: jewelry

I found this ring

I was walking to the bus a couple of weeks ago when I saw something metallic on the ground. I picked it up. It was a ring, a weird beat-up metal band with this featureless bald head sort of engraved on one side. It was just such a weird object. I thought to myself, who would have made something like this? Why would anyone ever wear it? What kind of a statement are you trying to make wearing this type of jewelry?


That doesn’t really make any sense. I’ll try to describe the ring a little better. It couldn’t have been more than a quarter inch thick, and it’s not like the face was drawn in with too much detail. Imagine that at one point, the right starts to bulge, like it’s a quarter inch all around, except for at one point it’s a little thicker. That’s the head. It’s a circle-shaped bulge. And in the middle of that circle you can see the eyes, but again, really simple eyes, just two small dots, a sort of indentation for the nose, and then a straight line for a mouth. Maybe it’s not even a face, I don’t know, but that’s what it looked like.

And I don’t know why, but I put it in my pocket, where it went unnoticed and un-thought about for the rest of the day. Until I pulled all of the stuff out of my pockets at the end of the day when I took off my pants to change into my pajamas, I totally forgot that I still had it. Yet there it was, right next to my pile of crumbled up bills, my keys, the little plastic sleeve that holds my credit card and driver’s license.

That night I went to sleep and I kept waking up. I’m only kind of putting this together with the benefit of hindsight, but knowing what I know now, I could definitely feel whatever is in that ring there with me that night. I couldn’t go to sleep right away, which isn’t totally out of the ordinary, but I kept waking up, looking at the clock and noticing every hour, almost like I wasn’t sure if I ever really fell all the way asleep in the first place. And it was more than just a restlessness. I couldn’t explain it at the time, but there was this vague sort of dread, a feeling I hadn’t had since I was a little kid, wrapped up inside of my blanket, unable to shake a scary story or a particularly creepy episode of The Twilight Zone. It didn’t make any sense, but I didn’t feel right that night, I had this weird sense like something was right outside the periphery of my vision.

I woke up in the morning, or, at some point I rolled over and it was light out. After I took a shower, I put on a pair of pants and went for the pile of stuff on my dresser, the same pile that moves from pants to pants. And there was that ring. Again, and probably for the last time now that I’m thinking about it, the ring had escaped my conscious thoughts. I held it in my hand and studied that face again. I thought that maybe I was experiencing something, like when you look at an object or a pattern for a long enough time, your eyes will start to see things that might not even be there, moving lines, weird patterns. But yeah, the ring still looked pretty beat up, but the face seemed more defined almost. Like when I looked at it the day before, there was a part of me that doubted whether or not was a face. But not today. The eyes looked like there could have even been some pupils faintly etched in the middle. And the lips, whereas the day before I could have sworn it was just a straight line, now there were definitely two.

I was exhausted, and I didn’t like the way I was starting to freak myself out, so I dropped the ring on my dresser, walked down the stairs and left for work. All day, and again, I guess at the time I just chalked it all up to lack of sleep, but all day I was on edge, tired but all revved up at the same time, like when you drink a bunch of coffee and then try to take a nap, that feeling. And now I couldn’t stop thinking about the ring. And I’ve always considered myself very mentally grounded, no really weird moods or episodes, I’m not the kind of guy to dwell on anything in particular for too long. So why couldn’t I shake that feeling? Why didn’t I just throw the ring out that morning? The idea that I’d have to go home and confront it again, it was starting to rattle me a little. Like I said, I’m not used to feeling this off-kilter, and so even though I tried to make it through the whole day, once I got back from lunch, the anxiety or whatever it was that was making my heart beat faster than it usually does, I gave in, I told the bosses I needed to go home.

The ride home was even worse. It was like, imagine that scene from old cheesy adventure movies, or even better, from the original Star Wars, where they’re all trapped in that garbage pit, and the walls slowly start closing in. You know what I’m getting at, right? Like, that feeling, imagining yourself trapped in the middle, knowing what the inevitable outcome is going to be, yet just stuck there with enough time to really force you to consider it, the almost unbearably slow movement of the walls, the infinite feeling of what it’s going to be like the moment both walls make contact with either side of your body.

I felt like I was actually kind of scared to go home. I didn’t want to admit it before, but I guess I’d been pretty freaked out the whole day. And now here I was, on my way back to my house, I mean, where else was I supposed to go? Getting off the bus, walking the two blocks back to my place, putting my key in the door, turning the doorknob. And then I was inside.

And I don’t know what it was like when you were a little kid and freaked out about something silly in your head, but whenever I was forced to confront a dark closet or the scary basement, once I actually found myself in a situation that drove me crazy with fear, those feelings of dread would always subside at least a little bit once I realized that nothing was happening. But this was the opposite. The front door closed behind me and my skin started tingling.

I looked up toward the top of the staircase, almost positive that something crazy or sinister or, I don’t even know what, I didn’t have any concrete images in my head, but I could feel that something was just around the corner. And I so I stood there for a second before kind of forcing myself to run up the stairs.

I turned into my bedroom and there it was, just where I’d left it, that ring. Every part of my brain was telling me to get away, but I just picked it up and ran my fingers along the engraved surface before bringing it close to my face. Had it changed? If it did, it was almost imperceptibly different. Like, was this a smile? Was it smirking? Or was the carving just off? Was the ring too worn for me to even make out an emotional state?

And why can’t I get rid of this thing? I know that I need to throw it away. I fantasize about walking far away from my house and dropping it into the sewer. Yet I can’t get myself to take the step of actually leaving the house with the ring in my hand. My sleep has been horrible ever since. More than a few times I’ve woken up in the middle of the night, standing up, right beside my dresser, running my fingers over the face. There’s this image in my head where I’m wearing the ring, and the ring has a really evil looking face on it, but I can’t tell if it’s something my imagination conjured up, or if it’s a bad dream I had.

This whole sense of fear and paranoia is out of control now. I don’t feel like myself anymore. It’s like there’s a tangible sense that there’s always something right behind me. When I close my eyes, I feel like it’s half an inch away from my face. I try to force myself to go to sleep at night, I’ve taken pills, you name it, and when I’m lying down, my mind races, I’m seeing figures lined up around my bed, just staring down at me, faces in the closet peeking out, dozens of hands covering the light switch so I’ll never be able to see. I can’t shake it. It’s only getting worse. And I can’t throw it away. I can’t even bring it out of the house. I don’t know what to do. I won’t look at it anymore, because I don’t want to see some demon face, and I don’t want to see that it’s nothing either. What’s the end game here? How does this ever make any sense? Because I can’t see myself getting through, real or not, I just … I don’t know anymore.

Every kiss begins with Kay

It was sometime around Mother’s Day, I was watching TV and this commercial for Kay Jewelers came on. I thought to myself, damn it, I hate these stupid commercials, some lame ass jewelry store trying to pollute our minds, convincing us that we need to drape ourselves in shiny rocks, fork it over buddy, it’s time to go jewelry shopping for your wife. And I was about to turn off the TV, but I stopped myself. This commercial, it was powerful. It changed my mind, about jewelry, about jewelry stores, about family, about everything.

The commercial started out with some dude walking over to this little girl sitting by herself on a swing set. She looked really pissed off. My immediate reaction was, hey dad, why are you going to give this girl jewelry? She’s just sitting there moping, pouting. You come over and you give her a necklace, you’re going to reinforce that behavior, all she’s going to learn is that every time she wants something shiny in life, all she has to do is sit in the corner and look angry.

kay mothers day

But then he started talking and we find out that this guy, he’s not the little girl’s dad. He says something to the effect of, “Listen, I know that this past year’s been really tough on you, but I love your mom, and I love you, so here, I wanted to give you this necklace.” And the little girl immediately brightened up, and she said, “It’s just like Mommy’s!”

And it was just like Mommy’s. They cut to the mom, she was standing like five feet away, and she smiled, she looked down at her chest, so did the camera. It was true, the necklaces matched. She was smiling. The little girl was smiling. She hugged the guy and then he started smiling too. I caught my reflection in the mirror and, look at that, I was even smiling. I couldn’t believe it, me, sitting here having an emotional response to a Kay Jewelers commercial.

But then I got sad. I realized that this commercial wasn’t speaking to me. I’m already married. I don’t have any daughters, let alone an adopted stepdaughter. Why are you doing this to me, Kay Jewelers? It’s like you’re just creating this little narrative to sell necklaces while simultaneously rubbing it in my face, reminding me that all of this genuine joy being felt by the people on TV is something that I’ll never get to experience.

I wanted a divorce. I wanted to get out there and hit the dating scene, looking for single moms raising young daughters. After a few dates, we’d hit it off, we’d have to hit it off, and she’d bring me home to meet the kid. I’d have to be just standoffish enough to make the little girl initially reject my presence, but with enough reserved charm that I could then go to the Kay Jewelers kiosk in the mall and win her over by reenacting as best I could that scene from the commercial.

Would the little girl’s dad still be in the picture? I can only hope so. Nothing would please me more than sticking it to this deadbeat nobody. Hey pal, guess what? I’m in the picture. I bought your daughter and your ex-wife matching Kay Jewelry necklaces. Yup, exactly, the ones from the Mother’s Day commercial on TV. What’s that? You don’t want your little girl calling me dad? Too bad, because I’m moving in. Yeah, I talked my way into having my name put on the deed to the house. Sorry, I know you only get to see your princess once every two weeks, that’s a pretty shitty custody agreement. And what are you going to do if I’m a little late in dropping her off, huh? You want us to file a restraining order? Do you?

But wait a second, I’m picturing my current wife, right after I divorce her, she’s going to call me up, “Rob! You asshole! I can’t believe you left me! And I’m pregnant!” Shit, I hadn’t anticipated that. In my quest to find my own single mom, I’ll have created another single mom in the process. And what if some other guy swoops in and steals my own daughter away with his own matching Kay Jewelry mom-and-daughter necklaces?

Goddamn it Kay! Why do you have to be so specific? It’s good to have a target demographic and everything, but I feel like you’re just playing games with us consumers. Give me something that I can relate to. Make a commercial about a guy that was supposed to fold all of the laundry while his wife was at work, but right as she walks in the door, he looks to the pile of clothes and says to himself, shit, the laundry, she’s going to kill me. So right as she’s putting her stuff down and hanging up her coat, the guy goes onto his computer and navigates to Kay’s web site. There’s a big, “I’m fucked” button that he clicks on, and when his wife walks in the room, he’s like, “Look honey, I bought you this beautiful ‘I’m sorry I didn’t fold the laundry’ bracelet.” It’ll be all shiny and diamondy and everything. And then she’ll give him a big kiss, right as they play that jingle, “Every kiss begins with Kay.”