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Advertise on the Tentacle

April 20, 2010

Campaign Diary Unintended Consequences

Michael Kurtianyk

I learned over the April 10-11 weekend what a ring cutter is. Some of you probably know, but I had not a clue. Believe me, it’s not something I keep around the house. I barely know the difference between a wing nut and a peanut. So let me tell you what happened.


Seemingly overnight, my ring finger became swollen. It was localized to that finger, and not the hand, the other fingers, or anywhere else. It could have been a spider bite or something, but I don’t know. What I did know was that I couldn’t get my ring off my finger. It was swollen and the ring was cutting off the circulation.


I went online to look for remedies. I elevated my hand above my heart; I put it in ice; I used Windex; butter; olive oil; and I even tried WD-40. Nothing worked. I was twisting the ring off, but my finger became blistered. When I stopped and tried again later, the twisting motion caused the blisters to break. This was too much. So my wife and I discussed what to do. We agreed to get the ring cut off.


Now it is at this point that I should mention that I have never taken the ring off my finger since Brenda put it on in front of the priest. This is true. Maybe once or twice to read the inscription inside, but that’s it. I had no idea what this would involve, but I knew where to go first.


I went on Sunday morning to the Middletown Fire Department with my daughter Alexis. I walked in and asked the fireman if he’d cut my ring off. You know what his response was? “I’d prefer not to.” Of all the things he could have said! I told him that I brought my daughter with me, and that he could call my wife at home. He said no, it wasn’t that. It was just that he’d done it before, and he didn’t like to see a man in so much pain.


Oh, great, I said. But I asked him to do it, and he went to get a bowl of ice and the ring cutter. Have you ever seen a ring cutter? It’s part pliers, part can opener. You fit the ring between the teeth of the pliers, and then turn a crank, which in turn rotates a saw to cut the ring down from the top. Halfway through, the crank broke. The spike of pain that occurred was strong and sharp. The fireman went to get a second ring cutter, while I drowned my hand in the ice bucket.


This time around, it worked. My wedding ring opened up when the saw cut through it, and because of the swelling, my finger puffed up, tightening the ring. He had to now pull apart my ring so as to get it completely over my finger. That was when I drowned my hand a second time in the bucket of ice. Sweet mercy from above, what a time it was! Alexis was a trooper throughout the whole ordeal.


When I came home and had a chance to unwind, I did two things. The first was to email my jeweler and notify her that when the swelling went down, I would bring the ring to her to get it resized.


The second thing I did was call Amanda Haddaway, my campaign manager. I explained to her what happened, and told her to prepare to do damage control (my tongue being firmly placed in my cheek).


I told her that if anybody said anything about me not wearing my ring, then she needed to explain what happened. I was still happily married, that this was a mutual decision between my wife and me, and that very soon I would have the ring resized. She needed to spin this for me, I said, quite jokingly.


So, if you see me not wearing my ring, you will know why….


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