Baxter Black: Columnist
We had been making the rounds of jewelry stores in search of an item to secure my position as “good husband.” Mostly I was standing around watching solicitous salespeople hover over my wife the way my dogs flock around me when I walk outside with a plate of scraps.
Mall jewelry store employees dress a little snappier than the average supermarket clerk. Some even tend to the odd, avant-garde or punctilious. I assume this is where Elton John started.
A piercing is not uncommon but it’s always tasteful. You never see a salesperson with a javelin through his eyebrow or a piece of turquoise the size of a road apple stuck to her nose. Usually the only tattoos you notice are the discreet flowers, arrows or sunrises on the small of their backs when they squat down. I keep waiting for one of the tattoos to read, “Honk if you love Brittany!”
Suffice it to say it is not a place where a cowboy is right at home.
As I was muttering non-specific comments to queries like, “Do you like this one?” “Isn’t this perfect?” “Do you prefer the 2 carat flawless Marquise in white gold or this throwaway 1/10 carat round cut with the visible bubble and fragment of coal mounted in a copper band that turns your finger green?”
Bite yo tongue!
A customer approached me and asked, “Do you think this looks feminine?” He was a robust young man with pink cheeks, the kind of hair that only gets combed when you go to town, and wearing his best pair of work boots. The ring was quite dainty on his big hand. It had three diamonds and lots of curly-que engraving.
“Do you ever plan to wear it?” I asked diplomatically as his mother eyed me.
“I’m getting married,” he said.
“Are you an accountant or architect or jewelry store clerk … or do you do outside work?” I asked.
“I’m a hockey player,” he answered.
“So you need a ring that comes off easy,” I told him, then showed him my knuckles. “You don’t want to be hangin’ that ring on a ladder, barb wire, table saw, or a goalie’s front teeth! A breakaway disposable one made of biscuit dough or rubber bands would be best, but they’re hard to find,”
I suggested he get something wide without sharp edges, no stones, nothin’ stickin’ up and wear it only when he wasn’t going to be changing the fan belt, cutting grain, ropin’ calves or pushing pucks.
“Can I see yours?” he asked.
I showed him.
“Do you like it?” he asked.
I said, “I’m not wearin’ it for me.”
Baxter Black is a self-described cowboy poet, ex-veterinarian and sorry team roper. He can be contacted at 1-800-654-2550 or by e-mail at: