Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Dear Temple,
I hope this note finds you well and happy. Today didn't go very well over here. I won't spoil your evening with the details. My father used to say, "It was a pretty awful event but at least it lasted a long time." Funny guy. There have been too many downer letters to you lately. Soon enough you'll be sick of my chatter. "Uncle Justin you are booorrringg," you'll say - and you'll be right.
Enough is enough! Tonight I'll tell you a story that is kind of in line with what we've been talking about. I've been trying to be a healthier me lately. Ran three miles on the treadmill, lifted weights, hit the heavy and speed bag and basically wore myself out yesterday. When things are stressful I tend to need some pretty heavy exercise. I work myself into the dirt - then I feel better.
One of the things I want to do with the weight loss is to be able to remove my wedding ring. Not that I need to remove it, perish the thought. I mean it Temple. Perish it. I just haven't been able to get the darn thing off my finger since it was put on by a tiny Chinese lady in a cheap costume jewelery shop several years ago.
You see, I've lost my original wedding ring. I lost it when I used to work with Preschool children. Small children are cute but can be pretty disgusting. There's always vomit, poop or something vile flying through the air. Whenever that had to be attended to at my job, I wore latex gloves. Sometimes, when removing the gloves, my ring would slip off with them and end up in the trash. This meant my wedding ring stayed at home and I would put on one of the five or six costume jewelery cheapo rings I had. When those ran out I would go to Lee's Jewelery. I could grab several rings for about four bucks apiece.
One day I forgot to change my wedding ring for a cheapo. I saw my ringless finger at lunch and felt a little sad I lost it. Didn't make me any less married, but Temple, your Uncle Justin needs his bling.
It's funny the things you can remember and the things that just won't stick in your brain. In High School I was always forgetting my locker combination - an important thing, but 80's Pop song lyrics sear themselves into my memory cortex so I can quote Duran Duran like Shakespeare - 80's pop song lyrics - an unimportant thing.
Here I was at the counter of Lee's trying to remember an important bit of information, my ring size, while being stared down by a tiny, wizened Chinese woman.
"I don't know what my ring size is," I said.
"You're not wearing your wedding ring?" she said, scowling.
"I will never go to Vegas again," I said bowing my head in shame, "Can you help me?"
She reached out and felt my finger. She said a number in Chinese and grabbed a ring from behind the counter. She then took my hand and did a little twist-push with the ring and it was on my finger. Permanently.
"I think it's a little small," I said.
"It won't 'accidently' come off in Vegas this way," She said.
"I was joking," I said, "This thing really isn't coming off."
"I guess it's a sale then," she said.
"I guess you're right."
So, years later the ring is still on my finger. It's not a bad looking ring, except for one thing. It spins. I'll try to describe it. The ring comes in two pieces. A solid band of metal holds a separate piece of lattice work design metal. The lattice piece moves freely in the band. Make sense? No? I just read over the last sentences and it doesn't make sense to me either. I'll just have to show you the next time I see you. Anyway, this thing spins like some fancy rims where the car stops but the rims keep on a spinnin'. I've gotten pretty good at spinning it with my thumb. "All day baby!" I say. "All day." It is decidedly not cool. But I've never claimed to be cool.
I would really like this ring off my finger. Soon enough I will lose enough weight and it will slip off on it's own. The cheap metal can do some pretty interesting things to your skin. I wonder what color my finger is under there. Best not to think about it.
When it does finally come off I will have to take a trip to Lee's Jewelery - where I know that old Chinese lady and her deep scowl is waiting for me. You'll have to come with me. Always a good time.
I love you much and miss you always,
                     Uncle Justin

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