NOT EXACTLY THE LORD OF THE RINGS

In my Jan. 18 column for the newspaper, I told the story of my long and troubled relationship with jewelry in general, and rings in particular. It’s a story of stolen rings, rings flushed down toilets, lost rings, forgotten rings. The fact is, while I like rings, and buy rings, I almost never wear rings.

I do have one ring, though, that I call my lucky ring. I actually wear it on occasion, especially when traveling. I suppose it has become a habit, and now I would consider it bad luck to go on a trip without it.

It’s a trippy ring, in fact. I bought it at a psychedelic shop on Sunset Boulevard in the ’60s. Obviously, I was out of my mind.

’60s? Out of my mind? Is that redundant to say?

When I bought it I thought it was an exquisite piece of jewelry. Sterling silver. Elaborate carvings. A caravan of elephants marching single-file around the ring’s circumference.

The next day, when the party was over, and the light was better, I realized that the ring was made of the cheapest kind of copper. The kind that turns your finger black.

And the carvings were crude.

And there was only one elephant.

Honestly, it’s junk. But I’m fond of it. I wouldn’t part with it.

I lost it once. I drove home from Carmel and realized, in a panic, that I had left it behind at the motel. I called, without much hope, but was overjoyed to learn that the ring had been found and turned in at the desk. Anyone could tell it wasn’t worth stealing.

The motel proprietors returned it to me, in a regular letter-size envelope.

It got bent in transit, but that was OK. I was able to bend it back.

Like I said, I still wear my lucky ring from time to time. It still turns my finger black. And there’s still only one elephant.