Sunday afternoon, I meandered into a small bar at the base of a ski hill. Not only was I the only sober person, but also the only one dressed in street clothes. I’m not a skier, but was compelled by my day job to write about the resort’s new umbrella bar.
Before I’d even ordered a drink, the woman beside me leaned over and grabbed my hand.
I actually wear three thumb rings, but decided it was easiest to agree with her.
“I wear a thumb ring, too,” she declared, then pointed at the bleary-eyed gentleman sitting beside her. “He always wants to know about the significance of a thumb ring. He thinks it’s a symbol or a code or something. I always tell him it doesn’t mean anything. Am I right?”
She slugged me in the shoulder, making me grateful I hadn’t yet gotten my drink.
“Actually,” I told her, “Mine does have some significance. I started wearing a thumb ring when I was maybe 10 and my kid brother bought me a ring at a garage sale. My thumb was the only finger it fit on, so I got used to having a ring there. It’s partly a sentimental thing, and partly that I’ve been doing it for so long I feel naked without one.”
Her eyes flickered a little at the word naked, but beyond that, I could tell I’d lost her.
Across the table, her gentleman friend frowned. “So you’re not going to tell us the real story?”
I felt bad for disappointing him. Like maybe I should have made up a secret thumb ring society, or explained the usefulness of the jewelry in giving hand jobs.
Finally, I leaned forward and lowered my voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you.”
He nodded gravely, and the woman nodded along with him. “I figured.”
I’m still thinking I should have come up with a better story. Got one? Please share, it might come in handy someday! I’d also love to hear about your significant jewelry or favorite conversations with drunk people.