I'm not that fond of jewelry, or even driven to accumulate mountains of wealth for myself. I am quite happy as long as my needs (and some of my wants) are met, and there is a bit of extra left over for adventuring. All-in-all, a pretty average citizen, except for one thing. I have a very chronic case of Gold Fever.
It has gone on for so long, I'm not sure when it actually started. However, after many hours of contemplation on the matter, I can trace the earliest origins of it back to the fact that my father had a subscription to Westways Magazine during my very impressionable growing up years. Yes, I am sure that's where it all started. I don't know what the magazine is about these days (it has been published continually for over a hundred years). But back then, it highlighted unusual places one could travel to, by car, on a weekend from Los Angeles.
Our first trip was out into the southern California desert (hotter than blazes out there, too) to dig up shark's teeth. Rumor had it that there was some huge inland sea thousands of years ago (leftover from some world-wide flood?) and there was a veritable hoard of ancient teeth that could be dug up with a mere hand-shovel and a piece of screen. And we found some! I dug them up myself, out there in that dry cactus-strewn wasteland of sagebrush and tumbleweeds. What an amazing thing-- and what fun!
You might wonder what shark's teeth have to do with gold, but I have thought about that, too. And perhaps if we hadn't found any that day, I would have gone on to grow up into an entirely different person altogether. But the experience of searching for a peculiar treasure -- and finding it -- has an amazingly strong pull attached. Especially for a child. Besides that, there was the digging.
Digging has some kind of pull all its own. And I have found that if you are to successfully avoid Gold Fever, you should avoid the pleasures of digging at all costs. Because it almost always leads to the the onset of Gold Fever. Even people who dig in gardens have been known to accidentally dig up treasures (or even valuables) from the past. Before you know it, you're hooked. Well, that's what happened to me back then, at that innocent age, when I wasn't aware of the dangers.
But a person can accommodate an inordinate pleasure of digging. A lot of people do, and they still lead fairly normal lives. It was the second thing we added that actually knocked us over the edge. But we didn't see that coming, either. In fact, we had such a good time on that little shark tooth expedition, we decided to go for another. We were prime targets by then, but blissfully ignorant, and I happily looked forward to whatever my dad might pick out for us next.
It was a trip to "Fat Hill."
A place you should avoid at all costs if you are to escape the perils of Gold Fever. But don't worry, I will tell you how. Next time. After I tell you what happened to us, there. Meanwhile, be careful if you find yourself having to dig, for some reason. Because at this point, it could still take you unaware.
And it could happen to anybody.