The Cheese Grater

I have a necklace by Lagos that I absolutely adore. It’s a tiny dog tag from their sterling silver caviar line, and I wear it at least twice a week — despite the fact that people always ask, “Is that a cheese grater around your neck?”

Yes. Because you never know when the urge for some freshly shaved parmesan might arise. Or when that block of cheddar just won’t do.

Albeit less frequently, people also wonder if it’s a sort of pumice stone derived from metal. Right, because sometimes the urge to file away at a callus mid-meeting or while stuck in traffic simply can’t be denied. Or, better yet, if you have a hard mass of skin that needs smoothing at any hour of the day, I’m your gal.

Here’s the necklace in question:


People at work have commented on it, the checker at Target asked about it last year and, tonight when I picked up some curtain valances which needed shortening, the alterations lady asked if I liked cheese. I forgot that I was wearing the necklace.

“Um, I do,” I said. “And you?” For a split-second, I was hopeful that she perhaps had some Manchego which needed a new home.

“I thought so!” he said. “I see the miniature grater hanging from that lovely chain.”

To say my necklace gets a bad rap would be an understatement, but it’s a simple piece. Polarizing, quite clearly, but simple. A few love it, but many hate it.

People can be that way, too. Someone may be deep in thought but perceived as aloof or cold. Someone might be mentally crafting a thoughtful response but instead pegged as uncooperative. disinterested or unwavering. The introverted are written off as selfish, the weary are dismissed as being too important for other things or people, and the quiet are cast away because they’re supposedly no fun.

But each of these people is valuable to someone — someone who won’t pass them by and who won’t ever discard or mock them because they’re perceived as something other than what they truly are. Tonight, whether it’s a funny piece of jewelry, a favorite article of clothing, an old coffee mug that’s seen better days, a certain mannerism or a personal characteristic that stands out more than others, I am thankful for cherishing the unique and for the people in our lives who appreciate what others might consider an oddity.

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