Thursday, February 24, 2005

double entendre #82

Lead is a heavy substance. A dense element. Dull, bluish-gray... it is not inherrently beautiful. It is often cold to the touch, though solid. In our culture, in this day and age, lead is not highly prized for its material value -- unlike more "precious" metals such as gold or silver. You'll catch no woman standing in the lead section of Tiffany's - New York, gazing at the beautiful lead pieces of jewelry. You'll watch no man fighting to win a lead medal at the Olympic Games. Lead is dull, dark, and dense... a dream of the foolish.

In fact, lead has been scientifically verified to have its dangers. Leaded paint. Leaded gasoline. Too much lead used in the wrong ways can lead to toxicity, a pollution of the environment, a hazard to the most innocent members of society. Our world is full of mothers anxious to keep their children away from houses with old paint jobs and shady sandboxes suspected of being infected with even the most microscopic granules of lead industriously sand-blasted off of some old bridge somewhere. A sensible person can't take chances with a substance as potentially harmful as lead.

Still, there is a certain beauty and value to lead, if employed under the proper circumstances. Lead can be a layer of protection when you're sitting in the dentist's chair, getting your teeth x-rayed. A heavy, reassuring apron of protection, a shield, a safeguard. Lead can serve as a framework for beautiful art. Small polygonic pieces of rippled red, mottled magenta, glittering green, brilliant blue, fitted together by a master artisan with small strips of lead. Leaded glass suppported by a web of lead, spanning an entire wall of a majestic gothic cathedral. And when the sunlight shines through the beautiful stained glass window, it offers a brilliant and warm glow to anyone who turns their face in the direction of the leaded masterpiece.


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