The other day, E.S. and I were watching Antiques Roadshow, a television program in which unsuspecting people bring possessions they think might be valuable to be appraised on national television. I’ve seen the show only a handful of times, but, as far as I can tell, generally one of two things happens: either somebody brings some random thing her grandmother gave her once to keep her quiet when she was a mewling eight-year-old and it turns out to be worth tens of thousands of dollars, or somebody brings something he bought in an antique store for $250, thinking he was cleverly putting one over on the store owner, and it turns out to be worth $12.
The best part of the episode E.S. and I were watching came when a woman brought in her dead husband’s guitar. It was a Martin and turned out to be a very rare model and in pristine condition, so the appraiser suggested she could get as much as $35,000 for it at auction. She smiled and said that was nice to know, but that she wasn’t going to sell it, because the memory of her dead husband was too dear to her. She said it in a way that made me believe it, too; she didn’t play guitar at all, but it was obvious she was telling the truth.
I turned to E.S. and we had the following conversation:
FAUSTUS: Honey, if I die and it turns out that some worthless-seeming tchotchke I have lying around would get $35,000 at auction, I want you to sell it in an instant.
E.S.: No. I won’t care how much it would get at auction. I’ll want to keep it forever, so I’ll always have something to remember our love by.
FAUSTUS: Okay, what I actually mean is, if you die and it turns out that some worthless-seeming tchotchke you have lying around would get $35,000 at auction, I’m going to sell it in an instant.
E.S.: Why are you so unromantic?
FAUSTUS: I wonder how much this chair is worth.