Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Diamonds and Other Valuables

Diamonds are generally expensive. Also they’re the de facto official ring of marriage engagements (at least in America). It’s a good niche to have. Almost half the people in the U.S. get married, and many of them do it more than once. But why diamonds?

In my wholly unscientific process of guessing and armchair researching, I have arrived at two main reasons. First, compared to other rocks, diamonds are pretty rare. Second, people want them. A lot of people want them. (Because the diamonds look pretty and/or they have practical uses. Like for cat burglars to cut perfectly round holes in museum windows.) And these people will give a lot of money to other people in exchange for diamonds.

I doubt we’d care so much about diamonds if they were as common as granite or sandstone. If the gravel on the road to Grandma’s house were made of thousands of little diamonds, would you want to display one of them on your finger?

No, you would not. If say you would, you’re either a liar or a jerk or perhaps a practitioner of surrealist art. (All immediate grounds for ignoring.)

I have found something else that is both rare and in high demand. But it’s only rare in certain places. In other places, it’s quite ubiquitous.

Foreign candy.

Also foreign soft drinks.

I’m a big fan. I suspect I only like foreign candy and soft drinks because to me they are rare. Now, I don’t eat much candy at home. But something about sipping from a glass bottle of Coke in Italy or chewing on some crazy chili-strawberry gummi straw in Mexico (What?! It’s sweet and spicy?!) really gets me going. It’s a rare occurrence for me, so I value it more than I would if I could buy this junk Stateside. (In which case I’d probably never touch it. Unless I were some sort of surrealist.)

For the second half of September, I’ll be in Europe. But don’t worry. ELR will not go dark. I intend to post highlights of my two-week foray into basse cuisine. I’ll give the location and what I eat or drink. Keep an eye out for my selections at your local store. But if you find any of them, don’t tell me. If I know that a treat is easily obtained in my own country, I’ll stop sampling it abroad. Don’t ruin it for me.

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