Imperial Valley Press

I’ve been blinged

- JASE GRAVES Jase Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, the Shreveport Times, the Longview News Journal, and the Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at

On a recent family vacation to New York City over the holidays, I brought home exactly one souvenir (I ate the others). While we were freezing our philtrums at the Bryant Park Winter Village Holiday Market in Midtown Manhattan, I was teen-pressured by my three daughters into purchasing a “manly beaded bracelet.” (I’m pretty sure that’s an oxymoron.)

I bought the bracelet from a shop called Raw Spirit NYC, and my misgivings didn’t end with the name of the establishm­ent. The beads in the piece were made from black tourmaline, and the seller assured me that it would dispel toxic emotions and cleanse my energy field.

Although I’ve been wearing the bracelet daily, my daughters would probably disagree that my toxic emotions have been dispelled, especially when I have to pay their hair stylists. And my wife would definitely disagree with the claims about my cleansed energy field, especially after I’ve eaten anything spicy.

I don’t typically wear a lot of jewelry, probably as a result of my upbringing. Men in my dad’s generation weren’t known for accessoriz­ing, so when I was in my lavishly- mulletted teen years and announced my intentions to have my ear pierced, I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I think it had something to do with removing my ears entirely. After all, it was the 1980s, and just about the only males with pierced ears at the time were on MTV – and most of them wore eyeliner.

I solved the earring dilemma by compromisi­ng with an imitation gold and silver ear cuff set that I purchased at Claire’s ( yes, Claire’s). I sported the ear cuffs only when I was away from home and was trying to convince any teenage girl in my general vicinity that I looked vaguely like a member of Duran Duran – at a distance, if she squinted and used her imaginatio­n.

Other than a succession of goldish herringbon­e chains that turned my adolescent neck green, and a tarnished, gold- plated nugget ring that I abandoned with an ex- girlfriend who probably still gets it out at parties for a huge laugh, my next memorable experience with jewelry came when my daughters were little girls.

Our daughters grew up during the Rainbow Loom craze and created hundreds of brightly- colored bracelets made of overpriced, miniature rubber bands that I’m still finding lodged in the carpet. Because this was back when the girls were still willing to admit that we’re related, they often presented me with the bracelets as gifts. ( My favorites were fuchsia and chartreuse.) I still put them on from time to time when I need a good cry.

Looking back, I now realize that encouragin­g me to buy the bracelet in New York was just my daughters’ way of implicatin­g me in the smackdown they were administer­ing to my credit cards. Neverthele­ss, it reminds me of them, so I wear it proudly. Besides, it does look kind of cool, especially when I pair it with an ear cuff.

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