November 01, 2006

Low Tidings

A diamond earring? I don't think so.

The topic came up, as it frequently does, during a conversation with my wife. She loves diamonds. Me? Not so much, mainly because I usually get stuck paying for them.

That's when she gushed, "You can get one, too!"

Now, I am by no means a stuffy conservative. I am, if I do say so myself, a very groovy, cool, now kind of guy.

Still, I don't believe men should wear earrings unless they are pirates.

I also don't wear a wristwatch. I could never see the value of wearing one, especially an expensive one. When I worked on Wall Street Rolex watches were all the rage. Some cost upwards of $20,000. All the high-level executives had them, which made no sense to me. The way I figure it, if you can afford a $20,000 watch you probably don't need to know what time it is. In other words, the board meeting starts when you get there.

I'm kind of like that. I don't care what time it is, because I never have to be anywhere at any given time. But even if I did, consider that like most of us I have: five clocks in my room: one on my bedside table, one on my wife's, one on the cable box, one on the TV, and one on the DVD player. As I make my way downstairs to get coffee, there's a clock on the stove, a clock on the microwave, a clock on the cable box, and a clock on the coffee maker. As I'm getting dressed in my office there is a clock on my computer, one on the cable box, one on the TV and one on the DVD player.

There is a radio in my bathroom with a clock on it. When I get into the truck to go to work, there is a clock on the dashboard and another on the radio. There is a huge clock on the wall of the deli where I get my coffee. And when I get into the office there are no fewer than six wall clocks hanging about. All 19 computers have clocks on their screens. The TV and radio both have clocks. Yet, almost all my co-workers have watches on. What's up with that?

When someone asks you, "Hey, what time is it?" you know you are talking to one of the stupidest people on earth and you should act accordingly, which means flee his general area before he hurts someone. That's because it's impossible NOT to know what time it is.

The only jewelry I wear is my wedding ring, and only because my wife makes me. "I don't want some young babe hitting on you," she told me the other day. I neglected to point out the last time a young girl hit on me we were both in the fifth grade.

I do have my high school and college graduation rings, but I wear neither, because both of them are those large dome shaped monstrosities that weigh about 14 pounds each. I'm afraid if I were in Rome with one of them on the Pope would run over and try and kiss the damn thing.

When I was in high school we all used to have a cross on a chain around our neck, and many of us had St. Christopher medals as well. I can't remember why, so I Googled the sonofabitch.

It turns out there are several legends, depending on who's telling the story. In one version, a giant lived near a deep river in the third century. One day a young child approached him, and asked to be carried to the other side. The giant complied, but as he forged the river the child became heavier and heavier, until the giant could barely carry the weight. He asked the child why he was so heavy, and the kid replied: "I carry the sins of the world." The kid then baptized the giant and named him Christopher, or "Christ-bearer." Left unsaid is the kid represented Jesus (or he was just a very fat kid).

That doesn't explain why a bunch of us kids would wear St. Christopher medals, because a) there are no rivers in Brooklyn and b) we carried plenty of sins of our own, thank you.

According to Wikipedia, the Orthodox version of St. Christopher's life isn't quite as touching. In this version he was a giant man, "a cannibal with cynocephali" which meant, literally, he had the head of a dog. He was converted to Catholicism and eventually became a martyr.

The trouble with that version is the St. Christopher on our medals didn't look at all like a dog, though in retrospect several of my friends did. Further research (as usual this column is a treasure trove of useful information gathered over hours of painstaking study) revealed:

"Among Roman Catholics, Saint Christopher is one of the 'fourteen holy helpers.' He holds patronage of things related to travel and travelers: people who carry things; against lightning; against pestilence; archers; automobile drivers; automobilists; bachelors; boatmen; bookbinders; bus drivers; taxi drivers; epilepsy; epileptics; floods; fruit dealers; fullers; gardeners; hailstorms; holy death; lorry drivers; mariners; market carriers; motorists; porters; sailors; storms; sudden death; surfers; toothache; transportation; transportation workers; travelers; and watermen."

There you have it. To summarize: if you are traveling in a lorry, old Dogface is for you. Put his medal around your neck and don't worry about epileptics or, for that matter, lightning. You're good to go.

Where was I? Ah yes, jewelry, or my lack of it. When we were teens silver ID bracelets were the rage. Think of how dumb that was — a bracelet with your name on it, which I suppose would come in handy if you had Al Heimer's disease, but Al hadn't even been born yet.

The last time I wore jewelry was the late sixties when I wore, yes, beads around my neck. I also wore a headband, and occasionally, a kerchief. No wonder they didn't want me in the Army.

Next week, we discuss body piercing, and why you should try it.

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