by John Paul Gomez January 06, 2012
Now there's this new video of Bro. Shaquille O'Neal making the rounds in youtube, facebook and twitter. It was a clip from NBA TV and in it was Shaq proudly wearing his (gigantic) Masonic "bling".
I have not seen the entire show but the particular clip started with them busting Bro. Shaq's balls. One remarked how he can't concentrate on the topic because of all the "bling" in Bro. Shaq's ring finger. Another one wondered "what's going on there?" to which Bro. O'Neal's dry and most elegant answer was "It's the ring of my profession... you don't know nothing about my profession."
Bro. Shaq's Masonic ring is a signet type the size of a super bowl championship ring. It bears the Square and Compass with the letter /G\ (which stands for God or Geometry) in the centre. Around it are the words "Prince Hall Master Mason". The symbols and words are set on blue enamel- blue being the favourite colour of all Masons (if you know one, ask them why- they may have to kill you for your spleen afterwards though). The ring appears to be encrusted with diamonds set on solid platinum or white gold. It was a ring to behold.
The conspiracy theorists don't have much to say about the video but it did ruffle the feathers of some Freemasons. A few days have passed since the video was posted and several Masons in Facebook are still debating about the proper way of wearing (or not wearing) a Masonic jewelry. Some have questioned the practice of making a Mason at sight; while some have indicated that though it was initially reported that Bro. O'Neil was first made a Mason at sight, he eventually took his obligations and went through all the degrees.
Another seemingly unavoidable topic that leaves a bad taste in one's mouth is the topic of PHA recognition. A few vocal minority in a particular facebook discussion thread was quick to point this out. But one comment stood out like a perfect ashlar right out of the quarry. It got the most likes.
One youtube user said "He might as well be a mason. He has shot enough bricks to build an apartment building." obviously referring to Bro. Shaq's free throw record. Another youtube user who calls himself JWadGallery commented "turn that ring upside down shaq...u aint giving off light yet...haha." The unitiated may find this particular comment peculiar but some Masons attach subtle allegories on how a Masonic ring is worn: If the points of the compass are pointing out (away from the wrist / body), the wearer is a Master or Past Master as his duties require him to be behind the altar; if the points of the compass are pointing in (towards the wrist / body), to remind himself of his obligations. So is it really important how Masonic rings should be worn? I guess it depends on what resonates with the wearer. To quote Bro. Ed King "How the ring is worn is not nearly as important as what it means to the wearer. A Mason should wear his ring should with pleasure to himself and honor to the fraternity!"
Watch the video clip below:
UPDATE: Better quality audio here http://youtu.be/x7qoxchAgw4
W. Bro. John Paul Gomez (aka Paul, JP, JPG) is an artist by trade and a full-time father-of-4. He currently serves as the W.M. for Doric Lodge No. 316 AF&AM in Ontario, Canada. He is a Senior DeMolay and an honorary member of Harmonie Lodge No. 699 F&AM in Buffalo, New York. He likes to cook and is a big fan of Muaythai.
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