A Hockey Player's Engagement

May 19, 2016

I want to get one thing straight right off the top. If you can't believe the guys in a hockey dressing room, who can you believe? That bastion of testosterone does not abide by lying. What you hear is the gospel. If you really believe this, I have a piece of property in the Everglades that you might be interested in.


This story revolves around a couple of teammates: Hick, Antonio, Carlos, and Antonio's unnamed former fiancée. The story starts in the dressing room with Antonio announcing his impending betrothal, but there is a minor flaw. His girl wants a rock. Not just any rock, but one that is gaudy, ostentatious, and most of all, large. Not being skilled in the art of diamond buying, Antonio goes to that fountain of knowledge and all things important, his teammates, to ask where he could find a diamond ring.


One teammate, Carlos, indicated that his wife seemed happy with her diamond from Birks. Antonio decided that this was a proper course of action since Carlos seemed happily married and Antonio wanted to be happy. Actually, what Antonio saw of Carlos (which was only in the dressing room) made Antonio think Carlos was happy. Carlos wasn't allowed to go out for beers with the boys after the game. For Carlos, the annual Las Vegas hockey tournament was definitely out of the question. As a securities broker, Carlos was well aware his wife would never trust him.


Antonio ventured to the mall in search of a Birks and showed no hesitation when he confidently strode through the door. 45 seconds later, Antonio was on a bench in front of the store hyperventilating. He realized that the $400.00 his fiancée had given him to buy her diamond was not going to go very far at a well-recognized jewelers’ store. He was caught in a dilemma. Does he put in any of his own money, or does he reconsider his plans?


The following week, another teammate asked Antonio how the journey to matrimonial bliss was going. Antonio related that buying a rock was tougher going than he had ever imagined. He explained that having never gone down the diamond road before it was quite an eye-opening and expensive proposition. Hick chimed in with the fateful phrase, "Listen, a diamond is a diamond. They never wear out, so why spend the money on a new one? Buy a used one, polish it up and she will never know the difference."


Keep in mind that Antonio was dealing with the fountain of knowledge that is unparalleled throughout the universe. He was dealing with the accumulated wisdom of a hockey dressing room. Hick suggested that Antonio follow his route. He had purchased his most recent ex-wife's diamond for the princely sum of $700 from an ad in the Buy and Sell. According to Hick "She never knew the difference when I gave it to her. Her eyes were glistening and she was blushing, well, like a new bride. I was on top of the world. It was indeed the best time of my life."


For some unexplained reason Antonio trusted Hick's judgment. Like, who ever got bad advice from a teammate in a dressing room? What Antonio knew of Hick was that he was from Huntsville and a straight shooter. He never camouflaged his personality. He seemed eternally happy. Trying to thank Hick for his wisdom, Antonio decided to play to his ego. "Some of the Italian players are jealous because you are the best player on the team." Hick smiled and said "When you hoe hay, butcher pigs and play hockey all your life, you are bound to be better than all the Italians put together," Antonio was not insulted by the comment. After all, Hick was a Canadian, and wasn't that how all Canadian hockey players were raised?


Antonio stopped at a convenience store on his way home to pick up the latest Buy and Sell. As he sat in the store's parking lot flipping through the pages, he was discouraged over the fact that there seemed to be a lack of quality diamonds for $400. However, one ad screamed that one particular jeweler bought used diamonds and Rolexes for cash. Antonio knew the guy had to be legit because he had also seen him on TV yelling at the top of his lungs. "I’ll buy your jewels. You bring your jewels I bring you cash." Antonio called him first thing the next morning and said he wanted a used diamond for $350. The jeweler sounded the same on the phone as his ads on TV. He would give Antonio such a deal. Just leave your name and phone number and he would get back to Antonio in a few days.


48 hours later, the jeweler called Antonio and told him to come on over and bring his cash, he had found a near perfect diamond. Antonio raced to the store. The jeweler made quite a show of presenting the diamond to Antonio. He again made a point of pointing out how near perfect it was. It wasn't a carat, but close. It wasn't VS, but close. The ring wasn't 18 carats but it was close. Its color wasn't perfect but it was close. Antonio didn't care. He had a rock for $350. The jeweler also gave Antonio a rather officious looking document that indicated the diamond was worth $5,800. Antonio parted with his $350. He asked the jeweler for a box and a gift bag. Antonio parted with another $40 and raced out of the store.


Antonio went over to his lucky lady's and presented her with the diamond. Her eyes glistened and she blushed demurely, she hugged him tight and said it was the most beautiful diamond in the world. Was it pear shaped? Antonio told her that not only was it pear shaped, it was near perfect and if she really wanted to know how much he loved her, she should take a look at the officious document the jeweler had given him. Antonio told her she was worth every penny.


The blush suddenly left the face of Antonio's fiancée. She was staring at the paper. She said, "Who is Nancy Brown?" She waved the paper in front of Antonio's face. Antonio quickly spied the name Nancy Brown. Antonio stammered that it must have been the lady who sold him the diamond. Then she said that the paper is dated 1984. Antonio said that must be the year they mined the diamond.


She started to relax and over the next few weeks Antonio was on top of the world. She did everything for him. Suddenly in a fit of logic, Antonio's fiancée decided to get the diamond insured. The name and address of the crook Antonio bought the diamond from was on the $40 ring box. She phoned Antonio from work and told him to meet her at her apartment at 5. She also informed Antonio that she had discovered that the ring had been previously enjoyed.

Antonio arrived at 4; figuring being suitably early and contrite might spread a little oil on the troubled waters. It didn't help. She was in a rage, ranting about the fact that since, in Antonio's eyes, she wasn't worthy of a new ring, then Antonio wasn't worthy of being her husband. Antonio apologized, but was rejected. He claimed to have lost his head and he would never trust his teammates again. Mentioning his teammates seemed to infuriate her even more. Antonio knew that the gig was up, so he headed for the door, ducking as the ring flew by his ear. He stooped, picked it up and slid it into his pocket. She stood by the door and in an icy calm voice tinged with anger, she told Antonio that her dad and brother would be arriving soon to restore her dignity and honor, so if Antonio valued his life, he would take his used diamond and his sorry butt and get out of there. Antonio complied.


A year later, Hick asked Antonio whatever happened to that used diamond since he had noticed that matrimonial planning on behalf of Antonio had come to an abrupt halt. Antonio told Hick that he still had the ring. Hick told Antonio he had fallen in love again and wanted to buy the diamond. Antonio, never one to pass up a quick buck, told Hick that he could have the rock, papers and all for a measly $800. The deal was struck.


A week later, after the game, the money changed hands. Hick smiled confidently, gave the officious looking document a glance and froze in his tracks, going whiter than the ice surface we had left. He tried to hand the ring and paper back to Antonio. Antonio refused. Hick begged and tears began to swell in his eyes. Antonio demanded an explanation. Hick shuddered and said his first wife's name was Nancy Brown. He had used the same diamond on wives two and three. He had sold it to change his luck. True story I swear. After all, the only people more honest than hockey players are fishermen. Aren't they?



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