What’s so special about you?

Published 11:05 am Tuesday, June 13, 2023

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Contributing columnist

If there’s one thing true about me, it’s that I am a thinking person. I can be at the grocery store filling my shopping list like a normal person, and then without warning I’m standing there lost in thought trying to figure out how they get those little pimentos inside the olives.

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As I wandered around the store, I came to the bread aisle, and I noticed that a loaf of New York-style rye bread was twice the cost of regular rye. I began to wonder what makes that bread so special? My wife, who was born in New York, often sings the praises of New York pizza. I’ve had New York pizza across the country. Can it really be New York pizza if I buy it in Kentucky? I’ll just grab a frozen pizza from the Piggly Wiggly and call it a day.

Some things around us claim to be special. For example, what’s so special about a Florida orange, a Washington apple, a Georgia peach, a California raisin or Kentucky bourbon? Why is an Idaho potato better than an Ohio potato? Is it a question of quality, or just marketing?

I wonder what exactly is so special about diamonds. They are after all just a shiny rock. The diamond industry tries to feed us the line that diamonds are so expensive because they are rare. Excuse me, but my toolbox is full of drill bits and saw blades that are diamond tipped. How rare can they be if you can buy them at the hardware store? My wife asked for a diamond, and I gave her a diamond-tipped drill bit for our anniversary. I’ll let you know how she liked it as soon as she’s speaking to me again.

I’ve never understood why gold is considered special. It’s been used as a method of currency for many years. People lie, cheat and kill for it, and yet it’s so common that we use it to fill a cavity or if you’re a rapper, you may have all your teeth covered in it. I saw some ladies’ skincare products that claimed to have gold in them. What’s worse is that I was in a restaurant last week that offered a hamburger with gold shavings sprinkled on top. No thank you. I’m not a fan of metals on my burger. Besides, I like my hamburgers with ketchup.

I remember 35 years ago I went to town on a mission to buy my high school girlfriend a diamond ring. I had 20 bucks in my pocket, and I wasn’t afraid to spend it. To my dismay, the Walmart jewelry counter didn’t have any diamond rings for that price. The clerk pointed me in the right direction. I wondered why they kept their diamond rings in the toy section but forget about it when I found some rings in a bin that were at my price point. Suddenly I found the perfect ring. It sparkled more than Dolly Parton’s britches and was made from “simulated gold” with cubic zirconia stones. I bought the ring and had enough money left over to buy a pack of Hubba Bubba gum. Three days later, my girlfriend said the stones had fallen out and her finger had turned bright green. Just like that, the ring and my girlfriend were history. Maybe that is why gold is considered special.

Just like gold and diamonds, each person is special in their own way with their own unique traits. Maybe you can touch your nose with your tongue, or you snort like a pig when you laugh. Something makes you stand out as special. You just have to find it. Now, excuse me while I go get my wife a diamond ring. I’ve got 20 bucks in my pocket, and I’m not afraid to spend it.