Bah Humbug Stop your Kvetching

My Xmas season consists of a marathon work schedule at the diamond exchange. 7 days a week. 9 hours a day. No caroling or egg nogg or festive cheer. I’m at work to sell diamonds and jewelry to the public. Business on 47th Street is better than last year at the Plaza Retail Collection. 2009 is not 2008. It ain’t good but it’s not dead.

Our clientele make big money. I sold a ruby for a million dollars. Richie Boy sold a D-flawless Pear Shape for $600,000. None of my friends are buying anything for their wives. A cashmere scarf and a bottle of perfume. Not a single call for a strand of pearls or diamond studs. Only the rich have money and Richie Boy was calling me a hypocrite the other day.

“For all your talk about re-distribution of wealth, you end up earning your money off the upper class.”

“I never said I wasn’t a hypocrite, but how I make my money has nothing to do with my political beliefs.”

“You want to overthrow the capitalist system. What kind of jewelry do you think revolutionaries buy? Nothing?”

“Our customer base shrinks year by year. The rich get richer and the rest of the world has no money.” I had been thinking about a red star ruby ring for myself. I remain true to the cause. My tastes run left of anarchy. My only jewelry at the moment is a claddagh ring and a half-dozen Buddhist talisman.

“Well, I couldn’t be happier for my friends who are richer this year than last, because without them we wouldn’t be in business.” Richie Boy had met most of his customers at bars and discos. They liked to party. No one ever spoke about their good times with the wives around them. They were smarter than Tiger Woods that way. “What about your customer this week. Owns a natural gas company. Was a submarine commander. He’s on MSNBC.”

“He’s a nice guy.” The customer hadn’t bought anything yet. He was looking for a $300,000 Emerald-Cut Bracelet. I had one from Cartier. The stones were not a great color. The broker pulled the three biggest diamonds. When the setter put them back, he polished out the ‘Cartier’ stamp. The piece lost $100,000 on that mistake. “I’m going to make him the piece. It will be gem. He’ll be happy. His wife will be happier.”

She liked my story about Uncle Carmine being buried with his dogs ashes. Aunt Jane had no idea whose cinders belonged to whom. The three cans are resting well above Schoonic Bay.

“You shouldn’t think any of these people are your friends.”

“Why not? You do.” Richie Boy hated the idea of my customers becoming friends because that would change the commission ratio from 10% to 25%. “Today’s strangers are tomorrow’s friends. Opportunity knocking on the door.”

“Fucking commie.”

“Goddamn fascist.”

The door opened for a couple. The husband visibly was in a hurry to buy something for his wife of 20-some odd years.

“You’re up, Che.” Richie Boy always gave me the opening. I was the fluffer for the firm. A hypocrite with a golden heart. A man too lazy to lie. A revolutionary waiting for retirement.

My wife is only 25.

That’s revolution enough for me.

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