The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

November 9, 2012

Some things are far more valuable than money’s worth

Friday, November 9, 2012 — I get the ideas for these columns from the strangest places; or rather, I should say certain things strike me in strange ways and lead my mind to begin asking questions.

When watching a special on Genghis Khan on the History Channel, I learned that warriors in the ancient Mongol horde wore silk shirts beneath their leather armor; the silk added extra protection against incoming arrows. Somehow, if an arrowhead punches through the leather, the silk would catch the arrow, curling around the missile and preventing it from punching into the body.

Silk has traditionally been valued throughout the ages, seemingly for its texture and high quality, but after learning this fact, one comes to understand that wearing silk has a practical as well as an aesthetic purpose.

Different people find different things valuable for any number of reasons. For instance, ancient cultures found gold to be of extreme value, derived mainly from its appearance and resistance to corrosion. However, in modern society gold has been found to have numerous commercial applications, namely in the use of gold as electrical conductors.

What do we find valuable nowadays? For many, the first thing that comes to mind is a cell phone, and it is a valuable tool indeed.

For me, the first thing I thought of was a pocket knife – something every decent Southern boy should have. It was the first lock-blade knife I ever owned, all stainless steel with five little ornamental holes punched through the handle.

That knife is valuable to me for a number of reasons. The first being that my grandfather gave it to me. He knew that somewhere along the line, I would need that tool and he made sure that I would be prepared when the time came. That alone makes the knife invaluable.

However, the circumstance in which I received the knife make it doubly special.

Once I was old enough, I bought myself a different knife, a much shabbier knife. I only paid about five dollars for it, so it wasn't like I got ripped off or anything. It just wasn't much of a knife, to be honest. Regardless, I was proud of my purchase and I took it to my grandfather, a fellow lover of cutlery, to show it off.

Upon inspecting the blade, Pawpaw told me what he thought about it: he even showed me the spots that showed its obvious low quality. I was a little disappointed, to say the least. But the next time I went to see him, he had a knife waiting for me: the stainless steel lock-blade.

The experience taught me a valuable lesson, in addition to netting me a valuable tool. I learned at a young age to look at the quality of an item, not just its monetary value; there are things more valuable than money, even if you do have to use money to buy them.

The value of an item shouldn't come down to its cost, but rather what it can do: act as a valuable tool, teach a valuable lesson or remind you that someone out there loves you and is looking out for you. Proof of purpose, regardless of how impactful, brings true value.


Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    NEW YORK - Economists love hamburgers. Specifically fast-food burgers. This is partly because all right-thinking human beings love ground meat on a bun, but it's also because the sandwich makes a handy yardstick for international financial comparisons. The ingredients and labor involved in preparing a Big Mac are pretty much the same no matter where you are in the world, so by looking at how many hours of toiling it takes a worker to earn enough to purchase one, you can get a sense of how wages really stack up across countries. The Economist famously created the Big Mac index in 1986 to see which currencies were overvalued. It started as a joke. Now, as the magazine proudly notes, it's a subject of academic study.

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    WASHINGTON - What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 22, 2014

  • Doug Creamer All in the Family

    We had a family get-together at my brother’s house on Easter Sunday. It’s hard to get our family together because we are spread out, especially when you consider nieces and nephews. My parents and siblings all made the gathering this year. Some of my nieces and nephews are far away, but they all remember gathering at my brother’s house for the holidays. Easter is known for the Jell-O eggs and the famous Easter egg hunt.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 19, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    WASHINGTON - The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 19, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 12, 2014

  • Brent Laurenz If you want to vote in primary, you need to register to vote now

    RALEIGH – North Carolina voters will head to the polls on May 6 this year to cast ballots in important primary elections across the state.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scott Mooneyham Heeding the voter fraud call in N.C.

    RALEIGH – Legislators found the findings outrageous.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Roots

    I took a few minutes over the weekend to enjoy our yard and the arrival of spring. There seems to be so much work that needs to be done, it is hard to decide what to do first. I am excited that I got to run my tiller through the garden. I didn’t go very deep, but I did at least break up the soil. I have a couple of raised beds and the soil in them was in very good shape. I didn’t plant my peas and now after the big rain we got on Monday I realize that I missed a window of opportunity.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content