I have a sad little collection in a jewellery box in my drawer. In it are three gold hoop earrings of roughly the same size, although of slightly different style.
One has a faint cross-hatch on the surface and is a little chunkier than the others. One has a delicate twist along its length. The third is perfectly plain. In fact, you can see it gleaming in the accompanying photo my overlords force me to run with this column.
The collection is a sad one because, over the years, I have lost one of each pair.
The succeeding pair was bought only when I gave up hope of finding the errant half of the preceding one (even though all three were lost in circumstances that didn't suggest much hope of re-discovery, such as in the surf. Or in my bedroom).
Now I cling to the old ones because I don't know what else to do with them. Who's going to throw away real gold? Not this little Scrooge McDuck, no matter that they are completely useless to me.
It's not like when you lose one of a pair of socks in the wash. You could continue to wear the lone one with a similar one (also abandoned by its other half), or turn it into a dusting rag or a sock puppet or whatever else people do with lone socks.
But a lone earring is a truly pointless item. Even if I found another pair that was identical, I'd have to buy them both, leaving me with three earrings and only two ears to put them in.
Though I suppose I'd have a spare for when the inevitable occurs and another gold hoop earring disappears from my life.
In the meantime, I'll keep my sad little pot of gold as a reminder not to wear precious things to the beach. Or in my house. Or ever, really.
Because I've been known to ruin other nice things. So I never wear white shirts. Or use expensive glasswear. Or buy good sunglasses. Thank heavens I don't need to wear a watch anymore because the number of those I lost or broke was astonishing.
I should probably give up on the whole gold hoop project and resign myself to wearing cheap junk, a philosophy I've had to embrace in other realms, and leave the good stuff to the more responsible adults.