essays

Worth your weight in gold?

jewelry displayHave you ever said that someone was worth their weight in gold?

According to theChicago Tribune website (August, 2011), gold closed today on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange at $1,788 -- down slightly from an intra-day high of $1801 an ounce.

When I was in high school, I worked in the jewelry store in the Chicago exurb of Boondockia back in 1973-74. (I was the delivery boy and shipping clerk. I seldom interacted with customers. Unless it was to sweep up after hours, I was only allowed on the store floor during the Christmas season. I helped put away watch trays and ring trays at closing time, too. I was not allowed to wear cuffed trousers. I'm sure you can figure out why.)

Anyway, this experience has been on my mind lately when I hear the breathless updates on surging gold prices. I seem to recall the jewelers being upset -- back in 1973-74 -- that the price of gold had soared to $75 an ounce.

This set me to ciphering. An ounce of gold today is worth nearly 24 times what it was worth 38 years ago. (1800 divided by 75 = 24.) fat manThe only thing that has gone up as much as the price of gold is college tuition.

Once I got to ciphering, I couldn't stop. There are 16 ounces in a pound. I found a USA Today story from March 2011,describing how the federal government is thinking about rewriting bus capacity rules because Americans are getting heavier than ever.

According to the article, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that, today, "the average weight is 194.7 pounds for men 20 and older and 164.7 pounds for women that age range."

Finally, I'm above average at something.

Anyway, back to my ciphering: If a man is "worth his weight in gold" (and assuming that he is of average weight), he is currently worth $5,607,360 ($1,800 per ounce * 16 ounces per pound * 194.7 pounds).

I only wish I was.

For most of us, to be called 'worth our weight in gold' would be a good thing. But I suppose this could be a cutting insult to Warren Buffet of Bill Gates.

Curmudgeon is a self-described dinosaur -- an Ozzie and Harriet person living in an Ozzy and Sharon world. And sometimes it confuses the heck out of him. He writes a very amusing blog at Second Effort.

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