Mini-rant here.  You have been warned.

Also, a Joie Fact, #92: I yell at commercials.  With alarming frequency.

One of the ones I have been yelling at a lot lately is the commercial for Luisa Graff Jewelers that’s been on the radio.  It’s a local jewelry store and I have ALWAYS hated her ads. (To be fair, I hate most jewelry store ads.  Kay’s is second in my loathing only to this local store.  Every kiss?  Seriously?  Ugh.)

First, to be clear, Luisa Graff is an incredible woman.  She built herself up from the ground in stunning fashion.  Apparently, she’s also one of the nicest people to work with from the accounts I’ve heard of those who purchase from her.  I have no reason to doubt this.  She also has a high standard for quality of product and staff so far as the anecdotal evidence goes.

However, she has won the award for the most ridiculous and frustrating commercials CONSISTENTLY since I was a kid.  This is for two reasons:

  1.  She has the most annoying voice and inflection in the world.
  2.   Her commercials are SO MATERIALISTIC.

Addressing reason one: She cannot help this.  The fact that she is so well able to express herself in her second language is fantastic.  I had no idea English was her second language before I read information about the woman who runs this jewelry store.  Also, those who I know who have met her  and worked with her in a professional setting say that really is her voice and inflection.  That is the way she is.  Fine.  I have a very particular type of voice and inflection that I like and I am really sensitive about noises (thank you, Grammy), so we’ll write this one off as, “You’re an adult, put on your big girl panties and DEAL.”

This is something I would be totally willing to do if it weren’t for the second reason.  Now, I am not naïve.  Ms. Graff is running a business and there is a certain amount of materialism inherent in the sale novelty products–it is her job to convince me that I need her product.  But there’s a difference between a good sales pitch and pure and blatant materialism.

I accuse Ms. Graff of being afflicted with the latter. (At this point, I will say that I am welcome to corrections to this assumption.  Especially if my author friend who guested here, Tony Graff, is related to her.)

Why?

Because her commercials are centered around how big, how fancy, how cost is somehow indicative of love, and all that blasted poisonous commercialism.  They are aimed right at the guilt complex of every living, breathing human being.  And if that guilt complex causes people to pay ghastly amounts for gaudy* jewelry, all the better!  Far more offensive than her voice, the basic ethos of these commercials make me sick.

Because you know what?  That ring doesn’t mean anything.  It is, for all the money you paid, worthless.

My brother, Monkey, recently got engaged and got his lovely (seriously, she’s gorgeous) fiancée a ring that suited her tastes perfectly.  In fact, he got it designed specifically with her in mind, as the ring options he found were not enough to her taste.  It is beautiful.

It is worthless BUT for the memory that he attached to it.  Monkey and Giggles (that nickname may change–I’m still working on that one) are no less committed to each other with the presence of the ring.  Giggles would have married Monkey without a ring in a heartbeat if the situation was such that a ring could not be purchased, I am sure.  That ring has nothing to do with how much they love each other.  Certainly the SIZE of it, the COST of it has nothing to do with how in love Monkey is with Giggles and she with he.

It’s the memory that matters.  Not the price tag or size or style.  The care he took in ordering the ring and getting it made.  The way he proposed (his method has total older sisterly approval, but–more importantly–Giggles’ approval), the forethought and romance he put into it. The beginning of their life together, as well as its future promise, is marked by that memory, which just happens to have been associated with that ring.  I’m pretty sure if circumstances had been such that all that had been wrapped up in a Ring Pop** rather than a diamond ring, it would be just as real and lasting.  I’m also sure that if that ring had been presented without the care and preparation Monkey gave the proposal it would not be nearly as dear.

I talked about my memory just earlier today and how visceral and intense it is.  None of those images that appear, or sounds that echo, or smells that waft are accompanied by the PRICE of the memory.  There is no floating counter in the corner of my mind’s eye tallying just how much my life and experiences cost.  The cost exists independently of the memories that I get.

I hope that my life continues in this way.  I hope I don’t get caught up in the wanting and having of things.  I hope that I never feel like an object is representative of the whole of my relationship with any one person.  I hope, for all the world, that I don’t turn out like the person Ms. Graff presents herself to be in her commercials.

I hope I will continue to look for and cherish the memory.  Of a friend laughing.  A lover smiling.  A child comforted and comforting.  A proud parent.

These are what last.  This is the most precious gift that can be given to me or by me and it is all I want: a memory.

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*Okay, trying to be fair.  It is gaudy to me.  My taste has always run simpler and quirkier than current fashion.  Some people REALLY like the style of jewelry she sells.

**I am NOT disparaging Ring Pops.  I have a friend who was proposed to with a Ring Pop.  She ate it.  Her marriage is still full of promise.

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