Friday, July 3, 2009

soon, it'll be like just ten cents

How I came to have a diamond in one eye, instead of my precious cornea, is that one day I was sitting down at a local establishment. I was reading my copy of Wired, which had a provocative piece about how in the future the diamonds will be just ten cents.

This was very captivating for me, of course, because I'd just had a very deep discussion with this woman I loved at the time, about what kind of ring she may wish to wear, should I be so bold as to ponder (of course). I told her about my awesome idea for a ring that looked very basic, but the cool part was that there were gadgets inside linked to some satellites, which where if I squeezed the ring a little, she, even if on the other side of the world, would feel a little squeeze. This idea was immediately discarded, through a direct demand by her, for a straight up diamond. I guess she was one of those very prim and proper people, you know? Very Hellenist.

So there I was, reading in Wired about how it's just going to be ten cents. Man, was I not having a ball with that? So anyway, I turned to this guy, who I had seen now and again, and remarked how the value of diamonds is kind of like an inverse Moore's law. I did not know at the time that he would take such great offense at such a simple (and admittedly retarded) musing.

It turned out that this man was a photographer of gems. Being a simple and frank person, I just laughed in his face. "How hard can it be to take a picture of a little stone?" I really, really should have never asked. I was treated to this whole dissertation about light and reflection, and then when dug deeper, the whole seedy underworld of it.

"So you just get flown around, because you're the top photographer of these things?"

"I do a very good job," he said.

Perhaps my scorn was borne a little from jealousy. Is this not how it happens? Without a full grasp of his peer's effort, there is a tendency for man to simply mock. In larger terms, this is a survival instinct. Some guy tries to purchase value about a stone, declaring its fine glinting qualities, and another just spits down his throat.

Our argument got to the point where he begged me to come and see his workshop. "I don't need to see your workshop," I told him. Yet, of course, I was already seduced. When we were both finished with our rounds, we both went to it.

It was as though it was owned by Gepetto or something, seriously. Although I like to show disdain for baroque contraptions, I could not help touching them, turning them. Twisting. And he could not help telling me to keep my hands off.

Finally I got bored of even that. "This is all very nice," I said, winding one of the mechanisms which worked in such a way that the faster you wind it, the blurrier became the viewed object.

"Ah, that is called the tease," he said. "It is used by very professional photographers as tool for wielding passion itself."

I rolled my eyes. And then I saw that he noticed.

"Well," he said, his voice suddenly taking a very cold turn, "the reason that I have brought you here, of course, is to prove that I really do have the most impressive gem in the world. In my possession."

"Well, if it's going to be worth less than a dime in the future, let us not dilly-dally, eh?"

"Very well. Your unkindness, look here." With a flourish, he pulled away a cloak of maroon velvet, and there, glinting in the dull yellow light, was a diamond larger than even a whole eye. "I invite you to check closely," he said, in a very courtly manner.

Why I even did that, after reading that whole article in the magazine, I will never know. Perhaps it was the brusqueness by which my fantastic idea for a wedding ring was spurned. Perhaps it was how small I felt when she insisted on a diamond. Nevertheless, I did check it out, very closely, with my left eye.

As you may expect by now, he slammed my head down, so that my eye was squished, and the diamond fitted into my skull. Everything after that was hazy red, for me. I did not give a second thought as to revenge -- my first motive was to get some emergency aid as soon as possible.

The matter of the diamond lodged in my eye was hotly debated. My doctor contended that if it were to be removed, my brains may spill out. A judge, hearing this testimony from a medical professional, deemed that no diamond can be worth more than a human being's life.

It should have been nice for me. But imagine finally coming home to your love with the diamond she asked for, lodged in your eye socket. It all fell apart, naturally, and in a matter of days I was all alone again.


The little girl laughed when I told her my story, and I laughed a little too. What a fool I had been.

"Do they ever try to catch you, and try to cut off your head?" she asked, catching me a little off-guard.

I looked at her. She was so simple, yet with such profound cruelty in her gaze. "Well, wouldn't you want to cut off my head, if you could?" I asked. "For the diamond?"

"No," she said sweetly, and we both just sort of laughed a little.

"Well, then," I asked, "do you think your father may cut off my head? Just for the diamond?" And then things became very uncomfortable between us. I did not like it, putting the little child in such a situation, but I had to know in which direction the wind was blowing. She squirmed uneasily on the bench. "We're ... I'm from a very poor village," she said. Then she turned away from me. And then she just got up and walked off.

It wasn't that I was that concerned about some peasant running over to chop my head off. There were marksmen of far greater skill seeking bounty of me. But it is good to know how the flow, in general, travels, so that the running can be fluent.

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