Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Steely Dan "Green Earring"

The good karma of not sucking . . .

My wife lost her favorite earring.

Now I know, losing an earring is the kind of thing that happens all the time, but this was a bit of a big deal.

Last Spring, we had taken a family vacation to Ocracoke Island in North Carolina, a tiny enclave that has little beyond a few restaurants, some artisans and miles of empty beaches.

My wife, and artist herself, fell in love with the work of a particular jeweler and the one-of-a-kind earrings she made.

But she couldn't bring herself to buy a pair.

It's a funny thing that happens to mothers.  They give and they give and they give, but they also feel enormously guilty about taking.

"Go buy them.  It's totally fine by me," I said, several times.  But she couldn't.

She wanted to, but she couldn't.

On the very last day we were on the Island---on the very last hour of the very last day we were on the Island---as we were packing the car to race to catch the ferry, she said, "I have to get them."

She walked down the street to the jewelers (it's a small island) and I finished packing the car, loaded in the kids and picked her up in front of the store.

From that moment on, for the next 7 months, she wore those earrings every single day.

About 2 months ago, she lost one.

Honestly, losing something is not that uncommon in my household.  My wife is one of those people who loses her car keys, her phone, her ipad, etc, etc, on a regular basis.  They always turn up.

But the earring didn't, and she was really upset.

Every day she'd get dressed and say out loud (not expecting and answer) "Where is that earring?"

Long gone, no doubt.  We'd tried to work out when she might have lost it, and the possibilities weren't good. 

She knew that she wore it to work (teaching), but she didn't know if she'd lost it at school, or on the way to her car, or at any of the couple of stops she'd made (the store, the gas station) on her way to pick up the kids.  If it wasn't in the car (it wasn't), then it was probably on the ground somewhere.  Gone.

When it wasn't showing up, I decided I would take a picture of the remaining earring, and send it to the jeweler.  Maybe she could reproduce her original, one-of-a-kind work.  A custom job like that wasn't going to cost half as much, no doubt, but it would make a good present.

Too close to Christmas to get it done, I decided to wait until January to make contact, in hopes that maybe I could give it to her for her March birthday.

Our finances are often as disorganized as the rest of our lives, so it was with great pride that I was carrying a check to my son's daycare.

We pay quarterly for his (awesome) pre-school, and it's always a bit of a financial wack.  Sometimes it requires juggling the finances to make it work.  Often, we have paid late.  Occasionally, really late.  It never feels good.

But my wife had done some good planning this quarter, and we were ready with a check the day it was due.  I was proud to be paying on time.

As I was tacking the envelope to the cork-board at daycare (which I otherwise never look at), I let out a yelp.

There was the earring.

It had been found, but no one knew who it belonged to.

For a minute, I toyed with the thought of giving it to my wife and telling her I had contacted the jeweler and had it made for her.

Instead, I gave my boy the glory.

He and his teacher taped up the earring in a bright red jewelry box, and he dictated a letter that said, "Here is your earring!  Don't lose it!"  And he presented the surprise at the dinner table that night.

I think my wife was actually shocked, speechless at the surprise.  I thought she might cry (but she didn't), but she was truly, truly thrilled.

I feel like I finally saw that earring that had been tacked to the corkboard for two month, as a reward for doing what shouldn't be a big deal, but was---paying the bill on time.

It's the good karma of not sucking.

Hear the song on Youtube.

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