Thursday, September 1, 2011

Splendors that out-glitter gold

If grandma really does have a heart of a gold you might want to rethink that humanitarian organ donation. Her 10-ounce ticker’s worth about $18,250.

Crime will take a disturbing new twist if a really good human heart ever becomes considered as valuable as stuff we dig up from the dirt.

Fat chance of that.

Who’s buying all this commodity gold? What besides base hoarding can you do with it?

You can’t eat it. You can’t cuddle it.

In those regards, a pound puppy ought to be worth more, especially in desperate times.

I don’t want to do anything that would instigate a harangue from Ron Paul supporters, but the mania for gold strikes me as more than a little crazy.

Yet gold and the possession of other earthly baubles drive the economy and has been at the heart of so much great cinema and literature.

I just finished re-reading “The Pearl” by the peerless John Steinbeck. Based on an old Mexican folk tale, the story’s about how oyster-diver Kino finds the world’s most magnificent pearl while diving for simple sustenance. The discovery leads to all the world’s worst miseries being unleashed on him and the family he adores.

The novella ends with godforsaken Kino heaving the pearl back into the ocean.

Similar devastation awaits nefarious Auric Goldfinger in “Goldfinger,” still maybe the best Bond movie. Goldfinger’s Midas-like lusts lead him to try and radiate all the gold in Fort Knox so it will be worthless for 58 years, thus driving up the worth of Goldfinger’s stash.

His greed is his undoing and Bond saves the day and winds up with Pussy Galore.

And the resolution seems to please Bond.

I’ll resist embracing all the nudge-nudge puns the name solicits, but I must be Bond-like in at least that regard.

Agent 007 never cared about money.

Me neither.

The problem is people pay me in money and other people immediately begin lining up to take the money right back.

Like Goldfinger, they all want treasure without soul.

I’d like to get paid in something I enjoy, could share with others and be ephemeral enough that no one could ever snatch it from me.

I’d like to be paid one quarter in cash and three quarters in three-hour lunches.

The lunches don’t have to all be at fancy restaurants, but most of them had better be.

And I can bring a guest. And we can enjoy two bottles of wine and anything on the menu. No restrictions.

And I want at least a 20 percent tip included to keep the pretty waitresses smiling.

The three-hour lunch might be the world’s most perfect splurge.

I enjoy golf, but a day of golf always leaves part of me sad and part of me sore. And I enjoy a long sumptuous dinner, too, but after a long dinner I feel like going to sleep.

After a long lunch, I feel like going to a tavern.

I’ve enjoyed splendid three-hour lunches with Val and friends around the country. I remember one in particular in New York.

It was me, Val and a buddy at the Sea Grill at Rockefeller Center right in the heart of Manhattan. Our al fresco table was at the center of what in the winter is the famous ice skating rink.

The NYC Visitor’s Bureau had set the whole thing up so I could write a Big Apple travel story. It was among the most convivial three hours of my whole jolly life.

The second bottle of wine is key. With one, most everyone is relaxed and pleasant. But the magic starts once the second one is uncorked.

We all become more witty, more relaxed more charming.

Really, if I had the budget and time for the logistics, I’d send everyone who reads my blog a couple of bottles of hootch with instructions they guzzle it on down before clicking on my latest post.

I’d be sensational.

Sort of like Bond, James Bond.

Ah, the two of us have so much in common.

The only reason either of us would ever step inside Fort Knox is if someone told us they’d opened up a really swanky restaurant amidst all the ungodly billions in bullion.

That’s not all. He’s agent 007.

And right now my balance shows there’s about $0.07 in my savings account.

There’s Goldfinger and then there’s me.


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