I recently read a very interesting opinion piece on whether or not the diamond engagement ring is still the thing. The writer pondered that no, diamond engagement rings are not in, and though I actually disagree (I see more diamonds here than a jeweler) I thought it gave me a neat space to write about my own ring and the reason for it.
Some around here call me Pebble, and it’s because of my ring. It’s a simple piece of cast bronze that looks like a river rock and sits atop a very thin gold band. It’s not fancy, and it in no way broke the bank. For most of my life I was vehemently opposed to engagement rings almost exclusively on the terms of practicality. It never made sense for two people just starting their life together to spend money on a symbol for which there is never, however big the diamond, a big enough signifier for. There just isn’t a ring out there that could possibly encapsulate my love, our love.
But then when it came time for it, it turns out I’m a sucker for symbols, however big or small. And more importantly I love a good sentimental story. And so my ring is a pebble because of a sweet and silly B animated movie aptly titled The Pebble and the Penguin in which a loveable, starry-eyed dreamer penguin Hubie, falls for the prettiest girl penguin and, as penguins actually do, tries to find the most beautiful stone with which to win her affection. He finds this most beautiful stone, loses it, and begins a whirlwind adventure fighting whales and weather and of course a rival penguin. In the end he wins the girl, but loses the pebble. Empty handed and apologetic, he is certain without the pebble he has lost the girl. But, oh no, wait for it, the line that still, embarrassingly brings me to tears, Oh, Hubie, it’s not the pebble, it’s the penguin. It’s not the thing; it’s what it stands for.
And so I could have my pretty ring and my sentimental story and still have my principles. Although, to be fair, if I had received a diamond ring I probably could have worked that into a good story, too, because the principle works both ways. It’s not the thing; it’s what it stands for. And the great thing about the modern age we live in is that there are unlimited resources with which to create your symbol and tell your story. Fancy ones and simple ones, but ultimately all equal.