Posted by: David | February 24, 2008

The Big Deal of the Day

Oliver and I took our traditional Sunday Drive to the dump, at the appointed hour of 10 am, which is when our Transfer Station opens. He was pretty well-behaved, since he didn’t spot any other non-humans. After leaving our trash and picking up a book (Asimov’s Nemesis … they recycle books at our dump and have maybe 30 or 40 feet of shelving to display what people leave, usually junk and old texts), we went over to the town sand pit. That’s where I get sand to spread on the icy driveway. The sand was nice and dry. I got 3 buckets.

On the way home I stop at the convenience store on Main Street for a quart of half & half and whatnot. As I’m looking over the pork rinds and squishy bread loaves, I notice a youngster standing behind a small table covered with a variety of beads and shiny things. He looked to be about 8 or 9. He and his family live in an apartment in the back of the store, and I guess his mom is encouraging his entrepreneurial spirit.

“I don’t know why nobody’s buying these things” he says toward me. I take a look at the random scatter on the cracked tabletop.

“What are these things? Beads?” I ask. There’re some opaque glassy things, a turquoise-ish cabochon, a mother of pearl fragment, and a few faceted items.

Actually” he says, “they’re real diamonds.”

“Wow” I say, “they’re actually real?!” He’s got me now. My wife is a big fan of diamonds.

Actually I might like to buy one of these” I spot a 4 or 5 carat rock and pick it up for a closer look. “How much for this one?”

“That one’s 10” he says.

What?! 10 dollars or cents?” He won’t say dollars or cents. “I can’t afford 10 dollars, I just came in to buy this stuff”, I show him the half & half and the Ben & Jerry’s (NEW flavor Creme Brulee!) “and that’s probably gonna be most of my money.”

“OK well I could lower the price to 5” he says.

“Dollars or cents?” I ask again. He won’t play that game, so obviously he means dollars.

“OK. Well I can lower the price to 1” he says. He’d never make it in Manhattan.

“OK it’s a deal. I’ll take this one. I’ll be right back after I get some change. Don’t let anyone else buy this one now, OK?”

I pay for my stuff and return to his table to buy the giant diamond, handing him the dollar bill. He pulls a good-sized wad of singles out of his pocket and adds mine to it. I thank him for the great deal and pop the stone into the pocket of my filthy fleece dump jacket. Oliver is waiting in the car. He’s not impressed with the either the Asimov book or the diamond.

It’s a little scratched up. I think it’s fake. Dammit!



  1. David, I’m no gemologist, but I’m almost certain that that’s a real diamond! Tom buys all of my jewels at the convenience store, and I know the real deal when I see it.

    Did your wife love it? Are you going to get her a tiara to mount it into?

    Well, uh, I set it on her chiffarobe and took a picture of it setting there. And you can’t really see it on account of all the stuff- you know, wrinkle cream, mascara, Claritin, baling twine, tweezers, hairbrushes, etc. She’s got one messy chiffarobe lemme tell ya. In fact I don’t even dare put that picture on the interweb as it would be the death of me (I may already be dead)! She DID like the diamond though. It’s big, shiny, and all sparkly-like. Who wouldn’t like it? We’re a little too lower middle class for tiaras I’m afraid, but thanks for the neato suggestion! 🙂

  2. No way moonbeam, that diamond’s a fake…you’ve been HAD David!

    But MORE IMPORTANTLY…creme-brulee Ben and Jerry’s???

    Please report on the flavour-explosion once it’s been had.

    Thanks much 🙂

    Yeah I was afaid of that. That kid was a little sketchy. Oh well only a buck. The ice cream was for my wife and she hasn’t tried it yet. Current favorites are Karamel Sutra and Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. I’m a Pistachio Pistachio fan. Don’tcha wish they came in a bigger than one serving size? Like half gallon CORONARY size! THAT would be great.

  3. Nemesis is one of those Asimov books I haven’t read. I think. So it’s not a usual one in that sense.

    (I don’t worry about diamonds anyway.)

    What about ice cream, Nimish?

    Nemesis was free and it looks like a first edition. Not very worn. You could shake a very big stick at all the Asimov titles I have not read. Or a small stick. What a stupid expression that is anyway! Like books would care if you shook a stick at them. Anyway I’ve just started it and the first character is a girl named Marlene (pronounced mar-LAY-nuh) who likes to stare at some moon. Uh oh. I’ll give it 50 pages before I bring it back to the dump. Rest In Peace Isaac Asimov and thanks for everything you did. In the interest of fairness, thank you also for not doing the things that you didn’t do. Now back to eternity wiv your bad ass. Buh bye!

    If I bring Asimov back to the dump maybe I’ll look for Watchmen.

    I think diamonds are cool because they’re pure carbon. The forms of carbon are so amazing, aren’t they?

  4. It almost can’t be real, because there is an old law, maybe Socratic, maybe older saying that you cannot sell a real diamond on the market place. There is a lot of truth in that.

    But the story is beautiful. The kid was probably old enough to know that you were also faking it.

    Glad you liked the story cantueso. As I walked out of the store a blogsmile came to my face. On the Art of the Deal- what can I say- I’m of middle-eastern descent (Jewish) and instinctively drive a hard bargain. That law about not selling diamonds on the marketplace is UNCONSTITUTIONAL! When I go back to that little store next time I hope the kid has more diamonds!

  5. You’re a sweetheart, MrDavid .. I dont care what anyone else says 😉

    Thanks Red 😉 Nice of you to say … Have I told you how much I love redheads? Been married to one for 30 years!

  6. Hmm… ice cream…

    Yes, ice cream … [Dr. Strangelove reference alert]

    Ripper: … Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridated water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream? Ice cream, Mandrake. Children’s ice cream?

    Mandrake: Good Lord.

  7. uhh….brunettes are cool too….

    I just wanted to say that.

    Good day.

  8. I second that motion.

  9. Thanks Romi, I third that motion and move to vote. All in favor of hair say “aye”.

  10. Aye!


  11. The aye’s have it then! 🙂

  12. Yous guys … so silly.
    Had to bring some red back in 😉

  13. But good silly, right Red?


    And maybe a touch bored?

    I’m home from work early- a weird power failure and they had to close the college. And it’s snowing again. Another 6-12″ expected tonight.


    Oh, um. Sorry.

    You are sorry about that apostrophe, aren’t you Miss McQueen!?

    Oh don’t just give me that pouty little look of yours!


  15. Oh my god….I’m mortified about the apostrophe!

    Brunette’s cant do puntuation–or speeling. But THEY STILL RULE!

    OK, well we’ll let it go this time. And since my daughter is a brunette we’ll let you be McQueen for a day. Hey! You know what? I could FIX that apostrophe for you. Make it like it never happened! Then, next time I flub a comment on your blog, you could fix it for me. Should I EDIT COMMENT? If I do, then none of this good stuff will make sense any more. Hmm.

  16. My daughter is a certified Diamond expert. She works at a high end jewelry store on Martha’s Vineyard. She actually walked into Hillary and Bill in an ice cream store a couple of years ago on the Vineyard. She also had Carly Simon come in and sing to her (she said it was sort of weird.) Now about the Diamond, She looked at it, laughed and walked away. I’m still not sure what that all means in Diamond speak.

    I can only eat Weight Watcher’s ice cream and only once a week. It’s not quite in the same league as Ben & Jerry’s but I have a good imagination so I just pretend I am eating chocolate cookie dough ice cream Mmm Good!!!!

    The Creme Brulee was pretty good. I think she liked it. Your imagination serves you well Joan!

    On diamonds, I’ve always wondered whether anyone ever makes any jewelry with rough diamonds. They are beautiful faceted of course, but I think rough diamond jewelry could be pretty cool. Am I insane? Is that a stupid question?

  17. Oh, David, how sad. The law that says that you cannot sell a diamond on the market place is of the other kind, of the philosophical kind, and it means that the market does not appreciate things of high value. See?

    I thought there was some Mid-Eastern folklore in that negotiation, but I thought it was of the Gypsy kind! imagine.

    As I walked or floated away from this wonderful blog of yours, I remembered Machado, Spain’s great poet:

    (just forgot the quote)

    Thanks for explaining cantueso, I missed the boat completely. Pearls before swine sort of saying I guess? Duh!

  18. Cuando dos gitanos hablan,

    es la mentira inocente:

    se mienten y no se engañan.

    When two gypsies talk to each other, the lie is harmless: they lie and they do not deceive each other.

    There is no honor among thieves.

  19. @MBMQ: “It’s not a mistake until you tell us it is.” Therefore: Apologize NOT for
    Ask instead:
    What *is* the Brunette’s Rule? The Brunette’s Rule is: BRUNETTES RULE!!!

    a former sortastill lingering brunette

    Very clever vermonter! Now I’M the goat for incorrectly correcting MBMQ! And gosh, I guess I’m a brunette too. Very thinly anyway (but hey who wants FAT hair?), so I invoke the Brunette’s Rule too!

  20. @ Vermonter: I wasn’t aware of that quote, but I will remember it always.

    The “Brunette’s Rule” Rule RULES!

    And you can stay McQueen forEVER!

  21. Couldn’t you put in more dialogs in your blogs? There are very few. Or none.
    The Machado quote does not mean there is no honour among thieves, but that the lies are simple convention.

    Machado, who was from Seville, did not really mean the gypsies, but politicians. He hated them.

    I’ll interpret this comment to mean that you enjoyed the dialog with the young diamond merchant and subsequent commentary. So thank you. This post fell into my lap on that February Sunday. The family that live in the back of the convenience store are not gypsies, though I really have no idea what their lineage might be. But whatever lies they tell, they tell them honestly.

    I would like to include more dialog, but most of the time I suck at remembering exactly what people say. Maybe I should try recording and transcribing, like Wendy has done in some of her funniest posts. Nah. I don’t wanna do that. Too much work.

  22. Shakespeare frequently has reflections on worms and cadavers, things like a fish eat a worm that has eaten the body of a king. It is not a very pleasant metaphor, and I would not mention it if I thought that right now you are having your breakfast.

    Now just when I saw it was getting late, I was trying to adapt that to the books in the dump called a transfer station and their readers.

    It’s OK, I eat oatmeal for breakfast. With yogurt and a banana. It looks like puke before I eat it. MMMMM.

    I should explain that the reason our “dumps” are called transfer stations now is that almost everything left there by the townspeople ends up being transfered to somewhere else. In the old days, when it was OK to pollute, a dump was a huge excavated hole tended by heavy equipment like bulldozers and such. People backed their cars and trucks up to the current edge of the hole and threw their trash into the pit on the appointed days. Then when the dump was closed to dumpers, the heavy equipment would bury the trash and excavate more pit for the next dumping. I’m glad that we are getting better about how we handle our waste.

  23. Good description of what a dump used to be. Here it is still like this, partly, and I have seen the most beautiful valley being filled half way up with trash. On the net I have also seen abandoned children in Brazil climb across the dump to get food.

    As to conversations: I later remembered that though you work in a school, there aren’t any little kids. Adult conversations, unless there is a strong psycho theme, are a bore, e.g. Hemingway’s, and you are a good psychologist, but are too polite to make use of that.

    With kids the dominant element in a conversation is mostly discovery. The adults try to discover what there is in a kid and the kid tries to avoid getting discovered, and in this attempt he is mostly hampered by his fledgling language. So in fact he betrays himself all the time. He senses that but does not understand it. Moonbeam also does it really well.

    Thanks cantueso, you have no idea what a comfort that is to me that I explained something and you wrote, “Oh OK, I get it!”. 🙂 I’m surprised that kind of trash disposal still exists in your environs. Is there no recycling?

    I like your thoughts on conversation with young people. But I would add that not all children try to avoid getting discovered. Most seem to either make it into a game, a few have little to be discovered, while another small proportion can converse like adults, or even better than most adults. They actually enjoy the give and take of communication. Moonbeam does do it well, I agree. She’s amazingly thoughtful and perceptive. I’m glad she blogs- it’s inspiring to read her posts.

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