I, too, am wearing a bracelet. I just prefer not to brag about it. It was given to me in Iowa by a single mom I met while driving cross-country during that year I was banned from the airlines. Like so many Americans, she’s struggling to get by, holding down two humiliating jobs, no health insurance, giving all she’s got to raising her five children—four girls and one boy—and giving about 60 percent to two legally adopted black kids. When she gave me this bracelet, with the words “Co-op Board” printed on it, she said to me: “Jonathan, just promise me that when you get back home you’ll run for co-op-board president. I think you’d really kick ass.”
But that’s not the only bracelet I have on. This one is a macramé friendship bracelet. It’s supposedly bad luck to take it off. You have to keep it on until it wears through and falls off on its own. But Christ!—I’ve had this on since sophomore year at NYU. What the fuck kind of yarn is this, anyway—titanium?! I can’t even remember who gave this to me anymore. I’m sure it was some girl I was trying to score with, though I can pretty much guarantee you that I didn’t. I was such a moron: a friendship bracelet means just that—_friendship_, nothing more. If only 27 years ago I understood the opposite sex like I do now. So that’s what I’d bring to the co-op board: experience.
This silver one is an exact replica of the armbands that the Thralls used in Star Trek episode No. 45: “The Gamesters of Triskelion.” It operates the electroshock collars on Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov and is a constant reminder that, should I be voted co-op-board president, I promise to hold monthly Trekathons in the common room. My mom went to high school in Illinois with Yeoman Rand and I bet I could get her to show up, if we used some of the building fund to fly her in (business class). I doubt my opponent can promise the same.
I’ve set my watch permanently to five minutes to midnight to remind me “It’s time to become co-op-board president.” I know it’s not literally a bracelet, but—Christ!—can you guys just loosen up? Do you always have to do everything by the book? In a co-op, as in life, you must be flexible. Perhaps that’s why no one in this building can stay in a relationship. You just don’t understand—being with a woman is like riding a wild horse. You’ll get nowhere if you fight her. Just relax, move as she moves, get a feel for her moods and rhythms. Then, and only then, can you begin to tame her.
This cloth bracelet I made myself by cutting up and stitching together strips of nicotine patches. It helps me remember there’s no smoking allowed in the elevator. Unlike my opponent, who smokes in the elevator every chance she gets.
On that same trip cross-country, a leathery waitress I picked up and slept with gave me this ring. I think she thought I did that sort of thing for money. And I’m thinking, “Are you kidding? If only!” Anyway, if I remember correctly (and this was a while ago, so forgive me if it’s not verifiable), she told me that, should I ever become president of my co-op board, I should tap the maintenance fund to buy a hot tub for the roof. So this ring reminds me to do that … and to take my daily Valtrex.
You also might be wondering why I’m wearing this Indian headdress. No story with this one. It’s just for looks.