I didn’t tell you all about something that happened to me over the Christmas shopping season. I was in JCPenney stupidly spending money I didn’t have to spend when I wandered into their newly remodeled costume jewelry section.
I saw some rings and since I’ve been thinking about inexpensive rings for my middle finger for the last five years, I decided to see what they have. I tried on a ring that had some sort of idealistic, “we-are-the-universe” saying about hope and faith. I’m a fan of faith and patience, but they don’t market the patience part much. Or at all.
Anyway, I liked the ring and whatever it said didn’t make me laugh derisively at the universe.
Well to heck with the universe and its dumb self! It got back as me as, you know, the universe likes to do. Stupid universe likes the last laugh, isn’t that true? The ring was on a 2x3” piece of cardboard and securely attached with a thick plastic zip tie. I slipped the ring on my finger to see what I thought of it.
The ring wouldn’t come off.
I could tell it wasn’t too tight, but it was the saucer-sized cardboard keeping the ring from wriggling back and forth to get it off my finger. What a gloriously stupid way to display a stupid ring! Of course, it became a million times more stupid when it stuck on my finger like it had been hit by a spell from Harry Potter, Endora and Merlin.
You get what I’m saying? It had magically attached itself to me.
I worked it back and forth knowing all along that it wasn’t coming off and that I was making my finger swell.
Stupid, stupid ring and stupid packaging! I knew what I needed was to have the plastic zip tie cut off. I stood at the real jewelry counter with the $10 ring stuck on my hand. The guy behind the counter ignored me while he chatted with a customer about a watch battery.
Mind you, he wasn’t replacing the battery. Most places won’t do that anymore because Americans are such a litigious lot. I was ready to sue them for mental distress, myself. I moved closer. He wouldn’t even look up to acknowledge me. Stupid jerk.
I’m standing there with a dinner plate on my hand and he doesn’t notice. I’m a shoplifting arrest waiting to happen. I’m a frantic, panicked customer about to pass out.
Mr. Working on Commission doesn’t care about me and my $10 universe ring.
By this time I figure the security people have me in their sights and my finger is now angry and refusing to let the ring wiggle back and forth at all. I have visions of living forever in JCPenney’s jewelry department. The briefest idea flashes of buying the ring and taking it home on my cardboard-enhanced middle finger.
But by now, I HATE this ring with its stupid unrealistic, hippie freak-show saying and I’m done with it forever. I will never waste $10 on Stupid Ring! It mocked me with its hope and faith. I had hope and faith I wasn’t going to get arrested for shoplifting if they’d let me explain, but that was all the hope and faith I could muster just then.
I took myself down the escalator with this enormous meat platter stuck to my hand.
I stood in line at the customer service desk trying to will myself to keep my pale, Irish-heritage-living-in-the-snowy-Upper-Midwest complexion from blushing. The lady behind the counter was so kind.
I’m sure she laughed her head off in the lunchroom later on, but she was very kind. Unfortunately, she did not divine the problem without considerable help from me. She was incapable or unwilling to perceive intuitively or through some inexplicable perceptive powers my current helpless situation.
Here’s how it went down:
“Hi, I was trying on a ring and it became stuck on my finger.”
“Oh, let’s see.” How could she not see? “Did you try to work it off?”
How much did I want to smack her?
She came up with a couple ideas and since I was using all the existing philosophical abilities I have in my body, which are minimal at best, I stayed calm, cool and collected. All York Peppermint Patty was I. Get the sensation.
I let her be a part of the solution as long as I could handle it. Then I said as nicely as I could manage and keeping the alarm out of my voice, “I think if you took some scissors and snipped the plastic zip tie, I could go into the bathroom and use cold water and soap to get it off.”
At this point, I’m fully prepared to buy the ring as penance.
Plus, as the ring’s owner, I would be well within my rights as a consumer to throw the blasted thing down the public toilet and flush.
“Oh,” she said. “That just might work. Let me find some scissors.”
Thanking God, literally, that there is still no one standing in line behind me, she ends the search for the only pair of scissors in the entire store and she snips the plastic zip tie.
Will you believe it? The ring slid off my finger without so much as a stutter or a catch.
I slid it toward her on the counter, apologizing for ruining the packaging. I said I thought I’d had enough of the ring and didn’t want to buy it. She was as nice as pie about it.
Lesson: Be nice to people who do stupid things.
Have a good day.