Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Planting the seeds of an idea

Many of you read my blogs with a sense of anticipation, saying to yourself, "where the hell does he come up with this stuff?" I must remind you that I work in retail, so not only do I constantly interact with "interesting" people, but I also do a lot of manual labor, so my mind does have a tendency to wander. I would imagine that many jobs allow this type of free time for thought, such as truck drivers, cubical jockeys, and morticians.

I came across an odd thing today at work. We sell a paint marker that is labeled "24K Gold Paint Pen." Right next to it is the brother to this product, the "Silver Paint Pen." The manufacturer went out of its way to denote the fact that this pen was "24K" meaning 24 karats, or carats, as it can also be spelled. However, the silver pen has no type of adjective attached to it. I did some research. Apparently, the carat is a unit of measure for both weight and purity for gold. For this blog, we will focus primarily on measuring weight.

Exerpt from Wikipedia:

"The word carat is derived from the Greek kerátiōn (κεράτιων), "fruit of the carob", via Arabic qīrāṭ (قيراط) and Italian. Carob seeds were used as weights on precision scales because of their reputation for having a uniform weight. This was not the only reason. It is said that in order to keep regional buyers and sellers of gold honest, a potential customer could retrieve their OWN carob seeds on their way to the market, to check the tolerances of the seeds used by the merchant. If this precaution was not taken, the potential customer would be at the mercy of "2 sets of carob seeds". One set of "heavier" carob seeds would be used when buying from a customer (making the seller's gold appear to be less). Another, lighter set of carob seeds would be used when the merchant wanted to SELL to a customer."

So, thanks to the wonders of the internet, we now know that the weight of gold is measured in a scale based off a seed. But what about silver? There is no such measurement for gold's neglected conterpart.

I propose that we change this immediately. Since the carob seed was used originally to meausre gold, we need to pick a seed to measure silver. I know the perfect one:

Thats right, the buckeye. A solid Ohio nut from the buckeye tree, which is known for its density and dangerous toxicity if eaten. We can now have a standard measurement for silver that can be universally accepted in all markets and venues. Someone can now say, "Hey, thats a swell brooch you're wearing Helen." At which point Helen can reply, "Yes, Harold bought it for me for our 10 year aniversary. There's at least three buckeyes of silver on it."

I am presenting this idea to the National Silver Trade Commision next week, assuming that such an organization exists. If not, I'll just start one and immediately approve this.

Tomorrow at work, I'll scribble a small "24B" on the silver paint pen. Maybe it'll catch on.

Silver and gold, silver and gold
Ev'ryone wishes for silver and gold
How do you measure its worth?
Just by the pleasure it gives here on earth

Silver and gold, silver and gold
Mean so much more when I see
Silver and gold decorations
On ev'ry Christmas tree

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