Lords of the Rings


The rings arrived three months after success landed on our doorstep. The week after Thanksgiving, our boys clinched the state championship in football, which is a title so sacred in Georgia that people practically make the sign of the cross in the air after pronouncing it like a benediction. The event itself wasn’t even sporting since it looked like the New England Patriots versus a Pee Wee league, but when the blood flows away from home bench, no one complains. So of course such an auspicious occasion would come with commemorative jewelry to sear the victory into the minds of all who possess this band of triumph. Unfortunately, no one anticipated the searing pain the kids might get from trying to wear them.

I first saw the rings on my freshmen babies. They came into English class with a different air about their walk, but not in the way I anticipated. Instead of holding their heads high and puffing out their chests, they seemed to be puffing from exertion and listing to the right. One shoulder dipped several inches lower than the other and gave the male population of my classroom a hunchback of Notre Dame look that was most unsettling. When I asked about the collective “I need a V-8!” theme, one fellow swung his arm around his body like an ax until his hand landed on the desk in front of him. And there I beheld the Ring of Champions.

The precious . . .

The precious . . .

The weight of the ring itself was alarming, and I watched shaking hands struggle to operate a pencil with the equivalent of a dumbbell strapped on their knuckle. But the real challenge of the finger candy was its girth. If you flipped that sucker upright, you could fit a round of beverages and a platter of onion rings for a party of five comfortably around the stone with room for cocktail napkins left over. No wonder the poor dears were dragging knuckles on the ground like primates.

You have to drink a protein shake before you can lift your hand off the desk

You have to drink a protein shake before you can lift your hand off the desk

By the end of the week, I saw few rings on my students and even fewer rings on those who had a slender build. Some of my guys looked as if they would be better suited to step into the center of the thing and pull it over their hips to double as a belt buckle of rodeo quality, and one of my students told me it was interfering with his studies since he couldn’t pick up his hand to turn a page in a book without breaking a sweat. So while the football victory had been epic, it’s easy to see that having rings of epic proportions might have been a little over the top. This is one ring Gollum can keep.
© 2013 – Traci Carver


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