At parties in my late teens, I habitually invented unlikely career titles as a conversation ice-breaker when meeting girls. I don’t really know why I did this. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It was a bit of silly banter, nothing to be taken seriously. There is a twist in this tale.
I was once a part-time trapeze artist with the Ashton Circus, working on the main perfomer’s rostered days off. I was also once an organ player for a funeral parlour but was laid off because I kept breaking out into Dixieland Jazz in the middle of services. An old friend, Iain, and I worked together as chimney sweeps, but we continually fought over who was going to hold the ladder as we were both apparently terrified of heights. Once, standing in the kitchen at a party and asked by a couple of girls if I knew the party host, I replied “Actually no, I have just finished building this kitchen and the party started around me while I was still cleaning up.” I then showed them in detail how all the cupboards drawers worked so well. The kitchen looked to be over 20 years old, and I explained that I only used pre-loved materials.
But on this one particular night, at a party at a friend’s house in Richmond, Melbourne, in 1985, I was a jeweller. And a very busy one at that.
The party was very crowded. Finding it hard to move and breathe in the main part of the house, I headed for the kitchen where it was a little quieter and less congested. In conversation with a group of very attractive girls, I was asked what I did for a living. Looking down, trying to think of something to say, I noticed a lot of rings on their hands.”I’m a jeweller!”‘ I suddenly discovered, “and I can’t help but notice how magnificent your rings are!” The group of girls were delighted, and for the next 20 minutes they, each in turn, had their jewellery appraised, item by item. Being a jeweller was a lot of fun, and required some close inspection to get a proper valuation. Finally, when my work was done, I withdrew from the kitchen and rejoined the wild crowd in the main part of the house. When I came back to the kitchen later, the girls were gone.
A few years ago, my wife Susie and I (together 27 years) were chatting about parties that we went to in our youth, when a particular party in Richmond in 1985 came up. We pieced together a few facts and realised, to our amazement, that we were both there.
Susie remembered the party well because some random guy pretending to be a jeweller appeared in the kitchen and valued all of her rings.