I had this strange dream last night. Not sure what triggered it. Oh, I have my suspicions. It may be the result of a sometimes commentor here on the blog who may be living proof for reincarnation. See, while only 16, she's extremely bright and curiously, tends to relate better to flower children of the Sixties than to many of her contemporaries.
That may be why I found myself visiting with Joshua Reynolds during my sleep in Lalaland last night. For those who don't remember, Joshua Reynolds was the inventor back in the 60's of that ever so rife icon of the Woodstock generation, the mood ring.
It was back in those days when a mood ring, Jimi Hendrix allegiance and a Peter Max poster could get you a ticket to the revolution (and free docier by the FBI). It was a time of campus unrest at those universities situated near critical intersections of the Earth's ley lines. Places like Columbia, UC Berkeley, San Francisco and Kent States Universities, hotbeds of revolutionary reverberation. It scared the shit out of authorities fearing for their authority.
Why, a group called the Black Panthers even took up arms against oppressive tactics used in minority communities by police. (It's been suggested the Black Panther's appearance with weapons in the California state assembly may be the act most responsible for necessitating FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, wear diapers in his last remaining years.)
Well, Joshua Reynold's rings featured pseudo gemstones--which were really thermochromic liquid crystals--that changed color in response to the body temperature of its wearer.
And while there's some debate, the generally agreed upon colors of your ring revealed, for all to see, your particular mood of the moment. Most commonly accepted mood delineating colors were:
* Dark blue: Very happy
* Blue: Relaxed, at ease, calm
* Blue-green: Emotionally charged, somewhat relaxed
* Green: Average reading. Active, not under great stress
* Amber: Nervous, emotions mixed, unsettled, cool
* Gray: Anxious, nervous, strained
* Black: Tense, nervous, harassed, overworked
Because mood rings were extremely cheap, they became as prevalent among the masses as socialized medicine in Britain. At parties and bars, they were often saviors in groups with lagging conversations when someone could interject, "Oh my god! Why are you so fuckin' happy dude?" staring down at his ring finger.
But then everything changed. Nixon came along. The guy who promised to get us out of Vietnam with honor. But he didn't. Instead, paranoid Nixon expanded it. We started bombing Laos. Cambodia. And the war dragged on. It became his main reelection issue four years later and a pall overtook the land. Inevitably, all the mood rings turned black. Gone were the vibrant blues and greens.
Slowly, in ever increasing numbers, the little rings were removed from fingers, left to settle to the bottom of jewelry boxes and die. Or they were simply discarded with the waning mood of the Sixties. More and more, conversations at bars and parties lagged, then died in awkward silences.
But that's where I came in. Talking with Joshua, their inventor, I'd suggested maybe it was time he consider a comeback for the ring. With almost two generations having passed since its demise, I hinted the mood ring may be more than ripe for a revival. "I'm pretty sure it'd be a smash," I said.
"Nah," he responded. "It's no use. They don't work anymore. We tried. The national mood's so somber, they just don't work. They just sit there, black. If Nixon killed the mood ring, Bush sealed its coffin," Joshua said glumly.
I tried to console him; offer some encouragement by saying, "Well maybe in three years, after Bush's gone?"
"Hell no!" he snapped. "Have you seen the future? Even if Bush decides to step down at the end of his second term, have you seen our choices? Hillary or Kerry and Frist or Condi!"
I had to concede, for the foreseeable future, the nation's color looks pretty damn black.