Everyday Adornment Matters

Jason, taking a break

This is Jason. He blows glass at Pratt. I’ve seen him around for the past few months. I think he’s been renting a blow slot, or assisting another blower who rents. I’m not exactly sure. He’s a bit of a regular, though, so it was only a matter of time before we met.

He is wearing, I kid you not, a lion’s tooth on his necklace cord, right next to the glass geode a friend made.

Here’s the story. . .

About 10 years ago, Jason’s grandpa was in Kenya for missionary work (or something such) with local tribes. He was wearing Nike shoes, and when the chief’s son saw these, he wanted them. Badly. Jason’s grandpa kept telling this young man that these were his only pair of shoes, and so he couldn’t part with them. But the young man was determined–he had to have these shoes for his father. Western gear being all but impossible to come by there, he was prepared to trade what he had to secure these high-status goods.

Jason’s grandpa finally acquiesced and the trade went through. One pair of Nikes for several items, the most meaningful of which was the lion’s tooth–the young man’s most prized possession.

In this particular tribe, it is a rite of passage for boys between the ages of 10 and 12 to kill a lion. This signals their transition to manhood.

When Jason’s grandpa returned home, he presented Jason, then about 12 years old, the lion’s tooth to signal his transition to manhood.

That was 10 years ago. It has been on a cord around his neck ever since.

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