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January 4, 2010
Damn. I just tipped over my little marble-topped table, and the marble top broke into three big pieces, together with a goodly number of tiny marble shards and chips of the semi-precious stones with which it was inlaid. It was a lovely thing, all right, made in the same way and in the same place as the Taj Mahal. Imagine: we brought it all the way back from India, only to have it meet its sudden and tragic end in New Jersey. What a way to go.

I would have thought it might have been a little stronger than that. It was marble, after all: like the Parthenon, for heaven's sake, which has stood for more than 2500 years, or the Taj itself, built in the 17th century. It's a stone. But down it went, a distance of about 18 inches, and that was that.

Lead crystal is like that, too. A Waterford wine glass and a matching tumbler both went home to Jesus over the holidays: solid, gorgeous, hefty things, they were. They look like they'd be impervious to just about anything. But just because something is solid and hefty doesn't mean it's sturdy. I myself might be described as solid and hefty, for instance, by someone who didn't mind getting on my bad side, but there have been times in my life when I have been quite delicate.

Some things can look pretty strong and still be in need of some serious protection. Most things, maybe.
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