SO not worth a pen!
In any event, having purchased and worked with so many different species of exotic wood, my mind started to wander and scrutinize the definition of “exotic”. I’ve done this many times over the years, and the conclusion that I reached recently is no different from the conclusion that I’ve reached so often over time.
That is, what is exotic to me is mundane to someone else, and what is mundane to me is exotic to others.
Merriam-Webster tells me that “exotic” has a few different definitions: I’m going to ignore the one that talks about striptease, and focus on the other three, all of which say pretty much the same thing for my purposes: 1) not native to the place where found, 2) foreign, 3) strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously unusual.
Essentially: not from here.
Consider snakewood, for instance, which is a wood species that has what I think are unbelievable grain patterns that can create some very stunning objects. Snakewood is from South America.
Do you think that the average Brazilian looks at snakewood and thinks, ‘Golly! That’s a lovely piece of wood! How exotic!’?
I wonder what the Portuguese word for “golly” is?
Or is that Brazilian more likely to say ‘Crap, another piece of snakewood. Why can’t I ever get any white birch???’?
White birch, of course, grows pretty abundantly right next to my house here in New England. Nothing exotic about it.
So this leads me to wonder: let’s say that I was living in South America, and I ordered a box of exotic wood “blanks”, how pissed off would I be if I got snakewood in that box?
What if I went out for “exotic” food and was given a baked potato?
“Exotic”, at the end of the day, is just something that’s not from where you are. It’s what made trade routes so damn long back in the day. The longer, the more profitable. The more exoticer.
That should be a word, right?