Once upon a time, the Emperor hosted a banquet. Some of his guests dined with cutlery and plates made of gold; but his most honored guests dined with cutlery and plates made of a metal even rarer than gold; element 13, known as Aluminum.
After the banquet, the servants piled the gold and aluminum plates into the kitchen sink; and there gold whispered to aluminum, “How does it feel to be one of the valuable metals?”
Aluminum said, “But valued for what? My lightness? My strength? My ductility? My protective oxide coating? No, just my rareness!”
Gold said, “What more do you need? Look at me! Who cares that I’m ductile, nonreactive and conductive? I’m rare, so I rule the world!”
Aluminum said, “That’s not what I want.”
Thirty years later electrochemists learned how to extract aluminum from bauxite cheaply by the tonne. A century later a railway worker laid his gold retirement watch next to a can of beer. There gold whispered to aluminum, “They have cheapened you.”
Aluminum said, “Yes! I am beer cans, baseball bats, lawn chairs, airplanes and foil! They use me, they use me up, I am everywhere!”
Gold said, “You are common. You are worthless.”
Aluminum said, “I am useful! And they love me for what I am!”
Gold started to weep.
Aluminum said, “There, there, someday you too will be cheap…”
Moral: Better to serve than to reign.
Comment: Poor blondie! So fiercely desired, so jealously guarded, but not for its own virtues, only for keeping score! So lonely!
Whereas aluminum is happy, and why? Because aluminum is the People’s metal!