Friday, August 19, 2011


I was watching a news program the other morning and the reporter was saying that the price of gold is so high right now, you could get rich selling anything that has even a tiny bit of gold in it.

To prove her point, she took a post-type pierced earring and removed the little slide-on backing that holds the earring in place. She said she was going to see how much she could get for just that one backing, not even the entire earring. She ended up with nearly $60…in instant cash.

That did it. I suddenly had a bad case of gold fever. I remembered having an entire box of those little earring backs that I’d saved from broken earrings over the years. I knew I also had a couple gold chains with no clasps. Just as I was about to begin my search, the reporter said something else that made my ears perk up.

“Even your old dental crowns have gold on them,” she said. “Don’t throw them out! Cash them in for the gold!”

I had at least two dental bridges and three crowns that had snapped off or fallen out over the years and had to be replaced. I’d paid so much for them, I hadn’t had the heart to toss them out, even though I knew I’d never use them again. Now, I thought, those crowns and bridges possibly could be my ticket to a small fortune. I had visions of myself lying on a tropical beach with two scantily clad bodybuilders fanning me with palm fronds.

“Honey! Where’s my medicated powder? I think I’m getting chafed from the heat!” My husband’s voice cut into my beach fantasy.

Grumbling, I dug out the powder. As I handed it to him, I said, “Remember that Irish Claddagh ring you had years ago that you wore so much, the pattern rubbed off? Do you know where it is?”

“It’s in a little black ring box,” he said.

“And that little black ring box would be where?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Beats me. I don’t know where anything is since we moved here. Why are you asking about that ring anyway?”

“Because if I cash it in for the gold, we can get a lot of money for it. I don’t think you’ll miss it, will you? I mean, the last time you wore it, Hawaii wasn’t even a state yet.”

Again, he shrugged. "If you can find it, sell it. But I want half of whatever you get for it.”

I smiled. I was going to give him all of the money I got for the ring because after all, it was his, but if he wanted only half, then I wasn’t about to argue. Those bodybuilders with palm fronds were getting closer to becoming a reality.

I spent the next four hours crawling around the house in search of anything gold. I found my dental crowns and bridges, a broken ankle-bracelet, a flat gold chain that had an assortment of kinks in it, and an old birthstone charm I’d paid only $3.98 for at Stuart’s. I also found two spiders, a half-eaten rawhide dog treat, my missing pink slipper and my diary from 1981.

“Did you find my ring?” my husband asked when I emerged from the closet looking as if I’d just lost a wrestling match with a killer gang of giant dust bunnies.

“No, but I will, if it’s the last thing I do,” I said.

I did find some items that were questionable. I mean, I couldn’t tell if they were real gold, gold-filled or gold-plated, even after I studied them with a magnifying glass under a bright light. I did find a couple that said 14K on them, but there were letters like HGE after the 14K, which could have stood for anything, like “Highest Gold Excellence” or...“Hybrid Golden Equivalent.” Still, I shoved them into a baggie.

The sun was rising when I finally found my husband’s Claddagh his toolbox in the back of the breezeway closet.

The next day, I took my baggie of gold scraps to a coin shop to cash them in. My husband’s Claddagh ring turned out to be only 9K gold, which is popular in the United Kingdom. And the HGE, I was told, stood for Heavy Gold Electroplate.

As for my dental crowns and bridges, the guy suggested I go home, take a hammer to them and bring back only the gold. I guess he wasn’t too keen on touching the actual tooth parts himself, maybe because he was afraid he’d find some petrified lasagna or something still stuck on them.

I walked out of there with cash...most of it in crisp $100 bills, which made my gold fever even worse.

I still haven’t found my little box of earring backs, which is somewhere in the house. And I think I also have a badly bent gold ring I used to wear when I was in grade school. So I’m not going to rest until I find them. Nothing gold will be safe from my greedy little paws...not even the neighbors’ golden retriever.

And if my husband sleeps as soundly as he usually does, I just might be able to add another dental crown to my baggie.

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