When I was in elementary school, just as my buddies and I were discovering girls, we became interested in ID bracelets. An ID bracelet is an ornamental accessory that’s engraved with the wearers name given as a gift to bestow upon the girl he was “”going steady”” with. Like playing furtive games of Spin the Bottle (or the much racier Seven Minutes in Heaven), offering your ID bracelet to a girl was a rite of passage, a precursor to all of the inept fumbling and bumbling attendant to a boy’s ascendance to manhood.
I also remember an other angst associated with ID bracelets but this one on a more personal level. Most of my friends bracelets were sterling silver. The one my mother bought me was stainless steel, which made it a much less valuable tool of seduction. It was among my first inklings that, financially speaking, people are not all created equal. And at that awkward age, I didn’t need any additional challenges to make a good impression on 12 year-old girls. So I did what every upwardly striving wannabe-rich-but-stolidly-middle-class kid would do: I tried to scratch off the stainless steel engraving.
My mother knew I wasn’t happy with my ID bracelet, so she took me to the jeweler for a return. That’s when I started getting nervous, because sure enough, the jeweler immediately noticed the scratch marks. I stood there denying my knowledge or involvement to the very end. I’m sure my mother knew that I was, somehow, responsible. I wish I knew the jeweler to apologize for my behavior.
I ended up giving my new ID bracelet to Debbie S., a perky brunette who was way cooler than me. She told me she lost it, but I’m not so sure. She probably just got tired of scraping off the stainless steel.