Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Let's Talk Metals

What if Metals could talk? Pretend you're at a party. The Elements are milling about. Could you imagine the buzz? Tungsten points out that Gold has a flaw in his character, but tells him "If you'll cover for me, I won't admit I'm the heavy in all this." Metalloids love to drone on endlessly. But do we really want to listen to them, Boron?

Mercury is bashful; a warm blush and she'll melt. Sodium, Potassium, and Chloride are in a group, arguing over which sports drink tastes best. And Calcium, Zinc, and Iron just want to talk about health. Even the Lanthanides have a rare word to add. Uranium is boasting again, about his nuclear family.

Exploring this idea could lead in countless directions. Let's limit it between the discussion that copper might have with silver and gold. Look, they're over there by the podium. Let's grab some punch and cookies and see if we can't eavesdrop on their conversation.

As we nonchalantly sidle closer, we overhear, "I can be precious too." Copper flashes a boyish grin. "I don't think so," says Gold, frowning with haughty superiority. "Don't even go there," chimes in Silver, "you're way off base thinking like that."

"No, but really," Copper retorts, "I work for money too, not just you guys." "Maybe," Silver replies, "but you don't make as much per hour as we do." "Look who's talking," snorts Gold, "you guys are just labor, I'm management."

Copper isn't about to give up. "Look, you guys," he says getting miffed, "if you think about it, I'm still working but you guys are retired," Copper reminds. "Silver, you haven't had a job since 1964, even though you worked part-time through 1969 with a side gig now and then."

Copper continues. "And Gold, you've been drawing disability checks since 1933!" When was the last time you did an honest day's work?" Gold thinks for awhile before replying "well, I may not work on a daily basis anymore, but I still guard Fort Knox and the Federal Depository of New York."

Silver objects. "But I pull guard duty too! I still watch over the West Point Bullion Depository."
Gold turns to glare at Silver and says "Those are empty words," not even giving Copper a chance to speak, "that's for the birds, Silver, and you know it," Gold adds.

"Eagles you mean," adds Copper, "I know, I know... both you guys are involved in the Audubon Awareness 'Teaching Eagles to Fly' Program." Gold growls intimidatingly, "Don't mock us Sonny." He balls his fists, and Silver wonders if Copper is about to be knocked senseless.

"It's been a pretty successful program, in fact it's moving so fast we can't keep up. The Public is surprised at how we've taken off." Gold continues. "We just started in 1986, and already the Birdwatchers are flocking to coin shops asking 'have you seen any Silver or Gold Eagles lately?' "

Copper sniffs, humbled. "Well, they didn't even ask me if I wanted to take part. It's not fair!" "They begged Platinum to join," he murmurs, "Mr. Self Important." "Next thing you know," Copper grumbles, "the Mint is going to be asking Palladium and Rhodium for help."

Copper turns to look at his buddies, Nickel, Lead, and Aluminum. "But are they ever going to ask us?," he blurts, "I don't think so." Behind him his friends look at the ground, too embarassed to offer more than their quiet support. Copper is silent for a moment, before he continues.

"I'll tell you what I can do that you guys can't," Copper says. "I went to school and I learned lots of stuff, I can do all sorts of things." "Yeah? Like what?" Gold says edgily. Momentarily Gold is caught off guard. He senses what's coming next.

Gold was hoping that the topic of industrial applications wouldn't come up. Because Gold is a noble metal; primarily prized for guarding stores of wealth. He doesn't much like working in industry. And he has no interest in banking, either. Gold was spoiled early in life.

How many times his mother used to tell him "Oh Gold, you're so good looking, you'll never have to work. You're handsome enough that you could just hang around like an ornament." Mom's words ring, "people will probably pay you to sit around and do nothing," as he recalls her memory.

Gold stirs from his reverie. The other two are now talking about job openings; whether or not their applications would be considered. They talk conspiratorily, for a long time. In the end they're both smiling. It seems like Copper has convinced Silver that they have a lot in common.

They both have experience in electronics. All three of them can make jewelry, though Silver and Gold are more talented. All Copper knows how to do is craft bracelets and amulets. But Copper gets even, bringing up Architecture. "I'm more useful in large-scale applications," he says.

Copper knows how to fix automotive problems too, but he can't repair broken catalytic converters like Platinum can. Copper starts to monopolize the conversation, not allowing a peep from a glowering Gold. Silver is sputtering, trying to get a word in edgewise.

"I know about high conductivity, electrical energy efficiency, building wire, and power applications." Copper goes on, "and I know all about pipes, and fittings, and salt-water tolerance, and telecommunications," his rant tapers off as he becomes aware of the stern expression on Silver's face.

"Look," says Silver, "I can do alot of the same things, and many more that seem to have slipped your mind. But I don't feel the need to brag." Copper is chagrined. Silver continues, "see what you did? You embarassed Gold. Just because he doesn't like to work in very many industrial roles doesn't mean he's useless," Silver springs to Gold's defense.

"Gold is more ductile than any other element, meaning he can form the finest wire possible. He knows some stuff about computers and cell phones too. And Space. Ask NASA, Gold can take the heat if he has to," Silver finishes. "Let's not argue anymore," reasons Silver, "I'm not here to test your mettle." "I can see both viewpoints, Gold - and yours too - Copper," Silver concludes.

Silver feels almost like he has a split personality. Is he a serf or a nobleman? He is valuable to industry, and just as worthwhile to wealth preservation. Copper jokes that they ought to combine classifications just for him, and that Silver could be a "nose metal," but Silver feels this is nothing more than "bable."

It was getting late; it was time to depart. But I thought as I was leaving, "the party was meant as a mixer, had anyone alloyed?" Zinc had been winking at Copper all night, like she wanted to get together or something. What she wore was revealing, you should see the way she was clad. I wondered, how did the night close?

In the end Silver decided that he had almost more things in common with Copper, than with Gold. Although Silver had as many or more industrial applications as did Copper he decided he could do both jobs equally well, and didn't mind the overtime. Gold remained above it all; he would probably be deemed arrogant if the Public knew he considered Copper to be common.

Lastly, Copper. For a moment, Copper's self worth had been in question, but he had recovered. He was, basically, a good guy, willing to help out whenever needed. A jack of all trades. Not the king, not the queen, but jack isn't so bad, is it? And while not initially being included in the Eagle Program was a blow to Copper's self-esteem, he knew he would get over it in a year or so. Dr. Bernanke had assured him of it.

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Copper is good in trade. Copper is good to trade in. Copper can preserve your purchasing power during the advent of Helicopter Ben's hellacious Hyperinflation. Coming soon to a theater near you, "The United States of Zimbabwe." Be sure to purchase tickets early, seating is limited.

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