Know It Alls v. Know Nothings.

Me, somewhere in Tel Aviv, in 1988.

In the late 1980s I was a part-time gemology student (diamond grading, colored stone ID, appraising, etc.) and a full-time salesperson in a jewelry store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The job, like every other job in retail, sucked, because people suck, especially people who have nothing better to do than shop for jewelry.

Every morning, we sales “associates” had to come in early to pull all the gems from the vault to set them up in showcases. One morning I was setting up a showcase full of diamond jewelry when a security guard strolled by.

“Ah,” he said; “Diamonds, one of the gems from the Bible.”

Right: this security guard was an evangelical Christian, who walked around with a smile on his face because he was certain that the Rapture was coming any day now and all us non-believers were going to have to watch him be seated on the right hand of the Lord while we were thrown into pits of hell fire. He was inclined to drop Biblical musings into his conversation so this observation of his did not surprise me much. He also wore crappy three-piece suits with cowboy boots in Manhattan. He was supremely annoying in almost every way. I usually ignored him, but not this time.

You see, I was a totally obsessive gemology student, and diamonds were (and still are) a favorite stone, and I was also making frequent trips to Israel, so I didn’t even look up from my work  when I said, “You mean יהלום, Yahalom, as described in breast plate of the high priest in Exodus? Actually it wasn’t a diamond in the breastplate, I think you must have read a bad translation, because there were no diamonds in the Holy Land, so the word most likely refers a clear quartz rather than an actual diamond. Some scholars also think it might have been a jasper.”

Breastplates, and high priests, have long gone out of style in Judaism; since about 2500 years ago.

Truthfully, I was just being a know-it-all. I wasn’t trying to shame the guy for his naïveté. So, having finished showing off, I faced the jewelry store cowboy, and I will never forget the look on his face. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen someone look stunned.

I think this was the first time he’d ever considered that the Bible was not originally written in English. And, thus, several other sneaking suspicions might have crept into his brain-pan: That the Bible that he conspicuously read in the break room every day could not be quoted randomly as the word-for-word  capital “T” Truth; that this book of his required a lot of critical thinking, as opposed to blind faith; and maybe he’s not as superior as he thought he was.

After a moment of silence, he nodded and backed away.

I think about this guy in the jewelry store every time I hear radical Christians hauling out the Bible for a good thumping in order support their opinion about Right and Wrong.

It’s been another wearying couple of weeks in America. Melanoma Drumpf has proved to be every bit the shit heel as every other Drumpf; the conservative-packed Supreme Court upholds gerrymandering to sideline minority and Democratic voters; Jeff Sessions is still AG, little kids might never be returned to their parents, and der Drumpf is still picking on Canada.

At a campaign ally in South Carolina on Monday, June 25, der Drumpf was speaking in support of the GOP nominee for governor, and as the Toronto Star reported:

“Trump’s speech was rambling even by his own rally standards: it involved extended criticism of three late-night television hosts, musings on his hair, an unprompted denial that his wife recently had a facelift, an accusation that the news media is “the enemy of the people,” numerous boasts and false claims, and another recounting of his triumphant performance in the 2016 campaign.

When Trump eventually got around to Canada, he began by saying “Canada” in a loud, exaggerated voice.

Canada. You know, Canada: nice guy, nice guy,” he said, extending his arms in a kind of conciliatory gesture. “Prime minister. Justin. I said, ‘Justin, what’s your problem, Justin?’ So: Canada. O Canada. I love their national anthem. O Canada. I like ours better, however. So. No, Canada’s great, I love Canada.”

There could still be a happy ending to the tale of the miserable pile of Drumpfs and their idiot Drumpf-dom. After all, once I got my gemology degree I moved on to Christie’s auction house heading up the Faberge department, and then I started to freelance as a feature writer, and then books. See? Happy Ending.

So let’s bring this blog post to a happy ending by checking in with the cat herd here in Vivian World. I took this photo at 9:30 last Sunday morning, after Top Cat and I had finished reading our New York Times and had given over the new couches to Candy, Bibs, and Taffy:

Bibs was the very picture of Happy Dreaming:

And this was the gang four hours later:

Have a great weekend, everyone. May America’s tolerance for vile stupidity reach its tipping point very soon, and may hordes of decent citizens rid us of the plague called Drumpf.


15 Comments, RSS

  1. jeanie June 29, 2018 @ 11:23 am

    For once I have no words. Except you are spot on. I am heartbroken, angry, frustrated, and yes, a bit on the freaked side, too.

    And to all your international readers — I keep apologizing for our leadership because — well, someone has to. He won’t. We’re not all like that. Really. We’re not.

    • Vivian July 3, 2018 @ 10:01 am

      Let’s tell every one of our great neighbors to the north to Buy Canadian.

  2. Archana June 29, 2018 @ 4:26 pm


    I didn’t know you had a blog. I have lugged your book ‘When wanderers cease to roam’ across countries and numerous moves along state lines. It goes well with a cup of tea, a silent night and a flickering candle.

    After going through a few of these posts, I ordered another book : le road trip.

    Thank you for speaking up.

    – Archana.

    • Vivian July 3, 2018 @ 10:01 am

      Hi Archana —

      How wonderful it is to welcome you to this little corner of VivianWorld. I love knowing that your copy of Wanderers is so well traveled — I hardly ever leave the hose these days!

  3. Susan June 29, 2018 @ 5:34 pm

    How funny when you enlightened the security guy. His bible reading, quoting, holier than thou, all knowing mentality is irritating. It will be key to get the vote out. Hopefully, this time, everybody realizes this. The kitties are definitely enjoying your lovely plush new couch. They look totally comfy. 5-STAR accommodations!

    • Vivian July 3, 2018 @ 9:59 am

      It is surprising to me that it seems that I know more about the Bible, as a book — a written historical document — than people who worship the damn thing. I also had to once tell a Jesus freak that none of the gospels was written by an eye witness to the events of Jesus’ life and cruxifiction.

  4. Kirra June 29, 2018 @ 6:19 pm

    I think you looked great in the 80’s Vivian! I enjoyed the story about the stunned Christian security guard, good you got some reality through to him.

    I am very glad it’s the weekend this week, and as I have no cats to kick me off the couch I’ll be there for a while. You cats look like they appreciate the new couches, so good choice.

    I enjoyed hearing about the 28 year old female socialist who won some sort of preselection vote this week in the US, so you guys still have some good things happening!

    Not much good news here in Australia either, just the story about a large kangaroo who interrupted a soccer match in Canberra and wouldn’t leave for 10-20 minutes, despite people trying to distract him by kicking balls to him! Worth looking up the video 🙂

    (I did post a comment before, but it had a website link and didn’t work).

    • Vivian July 3, 2018 @ 9:56 am

      I miss the ’80s.

      I just looked up the kangaroo who wanted to lay soccer and it is hilarious! WOW! I’ve never seen a kangaroo in action but this one could leap over small buildings…he looks scary. And surprisingly at home as the center of attention.

      What a country.

  5. Citizen Reader June 29, 2018 @ 8:55 pm

    Bibs is Beautiful, but I really want to snuggle in with Taffy. I am a Taffy Fangirl.

    • Vivian July 3, 2018 @ 9:53 am

      Bibs is what the French call “jodie-laid”. He’s so homely that he’s cute.

  6. Karen June 30, 2018 @ 12:00 am

    I too am a Taffy Fangirl. We can be a club.

    • Vivian July 3, 2018 @ 9:52 am

      Taffy appreciates all the love. He is really the coolest cat in the herd.

  7. Becky June 30, 2018 @ 2:59 pm

    Jeanie expressed my sentiments exactly. I am so disgusted and disturbed over all of this. And to all international friends we are Definitely not like the drumpfs and their followers. My friends and I are appalled at what is (or isn’t) going on. ( how about elected officials standing up and putting country over power!)
    I don’t see a pup yet in admidst those sleeping kitties.

    • Vivian July 3, 2018 @ 9:51 am

      Don’t tell Taffy, but the search for our DoG continues…

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