Monday, January 12, 2009

mood rings

after a day of intermittent laughter in bouts of relief thanks to picking up a certain book again, i admit i am enamored with fran lebowitz. the book i have been reading is the fran lebowitz reader, a combination of her published sardonic essays, which was passed along to my mother and then to me, and has some singularly meaningful inscription on the title page that was not meant for me.

i just stumbled upon this cool little article about a lunch date with her. it was published in the "home & garden" section. does that still exist? who reads that section? is that just a front for "ladies only"?

here is a brief essay of hers, which i thoroughly enjoyed on the subway today and expect you to, too.


As one whose taste in mental states has always run largely toward the coma, I have very little patience with the current craze for self-awareness. I am already far too well acquainted with how I feel and frankly, given the choice, I would not. Anyone who is troubled by the inability to feel his or her own feelings is more than welcome to feel mine. It should not be surprising, then, for you to learn that I am something less than enchanted with a concept such as mood jewelry. For those of you fortunate enough to have your lack of awareness extend into the realm of advertising, mood jewelry is jewelry that tells you your feelings via a heat-sensitive stone. And although one would think that stones would have quite enough to do, what with graves and walls and such, it seems that they have now taken on the job of informing people that they are nervous. And although one would think that a person who is nervous would be more than able to ascertain that fact without the aid of a quite unattractive ring, this is apparently not the case.

Mood jewelry comes to us in many guises: necklaces, rings, watches, and bracelets. But whatever form it takes, it is invariably equipped with the perceptive and informative stone that not only relates one's present mood but also indicates in what direction that mood is headed. The stone performs this new feat by means of color change. The following, chosen solely on the basis of crankiness, has been excerpted from an ad:

ONYX BLACK...Overworked.
AMBER RED...You are becoming more strained, even anxious.
TOPAZ YELLOW...Somewhat unsettled, your mind is wandering.
JADE GREEN...Normal, nothing unusual is happening.
TURQUOISE BLUE-GREEN...You are beginning to relax...your emotions are turning up.
LAPIS BLUE...You feel belong. Relax...your feelings are beginning to flow freely.
SAPPHIRE BLUE...You're completely open...feeling happy...concentrating on your strong inner feelings and passions. This is the highest state.

One can safely assume that a person who finds it necessary to consult a bracelet on the subject of his own state of mind is a person who is undoubtedly perplexed by a great many things. It follows, then, that in such a case a piece of jewelry that reveals only emotions can hardly be called adequate--for here is a person besieged and beset by questions far more complex than "Am I strained?" This is an individual who needs answers--an individual who should be able to look at his heavily adorned wrist and ask, "Am I tall? Short? A natural blond? A man? A woman? An elm? Do I own my own home? Can I take a joke? Do I envy the success of others?"

Clearly, if there is to be such a thing as mood jewelry it must become more specific. In the interests of hastening such an occurrence I offer the following:

REDDISH BEIGE...You are an American Indian who is are of little interest both to yourself and to other American Indians.
BEIGISH RED...You are a white person who is are deeply embarrassed by your complete lack of interesting qualities...humility is no substitute for a good personality...this will not change.
LAVENDER...You are either a homosexual or a bathroom rug in a house where you match the tile...if you decide in favor of being a bathroom rug just remember that as a homosexual you could have been on the David Susskind Show.
HORIZONTAL STRIPES...You are extremely thin and have reacted to this fact excessively...this is the lowest state.
MULATTO...One of your parents is turning into a Negro...if your parents are already Negroes, one of them is turning into a white person.
IRREGULAR, FINE LINES...You are getting somewhat older...this will probably continue.
BURNT UMBER...You are turning into an artist...possibly Hans Holbein, the Younger. This is the highest state.

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