Gold Standards

Gold. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, unless you’re talking about filling bad teeth or encircling ring fingers. There might be some days when you wished for more of it, because for some reason we think of it as money in this country, as well as  in most of this world. It’s strange to think of, isn’t it? Vast vaults under the ground stacked full with yellow metal the shining glory of the sun. Hidden beneath the earth’s crust.

It’s 99% pure. The other 1% is for impure thoughts and sneaky deeds. What would gold get up to if it could? Probably a drive-by shooting, or at least a spoon in a dictator’s mouth. Wouldn’t that be something, to die by a golden bullet? What’ll they think of next? Maybe we’ll really start using gold for money (since as-you-know-gold-backed-currency-must-be-backed-by-actual-ore). We wouldn’t have paper money anymore. We would all carry around heavy bags of doubloons and grandma’s jewelry and melt it down and weigh it in exchange for our food.

Imagine your paycheck. It would come in a cardboard box, shipped by an Amazon armored drone, dropped into your open bedroom window. Gold. You would open it and there would be George Washington’s face stamped on these coins, all these shiny golden coins that would reflect the afternoon light in your face, bright as noon.

Then, if you wanted, you could melt your gold into bullets, or a spoon, or a wedding ring. You could eat or kill or love with your gold. If you were saving up to buy a car you’d need a wheelbarrow and a trusted neighbor with a heavy-duty pickup, since you wouldn’t have a car yet and you’d need a way to haul all that gold to the dealership.

Gold would take up a lot of space in the freezer if you were saving it up there. It would be lumpy under the mattress, and displace too much water in the toilet tank. It would be hard to hide under the floorboards, but I suppose you could try. I would always be worrying about the gold I left at home under the floorboards, worried sick that someone would come and take all my gold because I like to eat, and in this country that I am writing about one must have gold in order to eat. Otherwise you won’t get any food.

Some people might love their gold more than food. They might wish that everything they touched turned to gold. They might be the President and hang gold drapes behind their desk in the Oval Office. They might pay gold to marry a Russian princess with gold teeth. Can you imagine everything turning to gold in your mouth? You could eat only fish food, otherwise you’d choke. (Gold flakes are digestible. You can drink them in hot cinnamon liquor.) But how long could someone live off a diet of gold? And what measures would you take to recover the gold brick that would eventually emerge from the canal of your intestines? It would definitely displace far too much water in the toilet bowl.

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