As a youngster, collecting things was pretty simple: you’d walk to the local Turkey Hill Mini Mart, purchase a pack of Tops Baseball Cards (you know the kind with the piece of pink plywood they try to pass off as chewing gum), take them home and hope to God somehow you scored a decent card in the pack of 12.
Every once and a while if you saved up your allowance for two weeks you could score a nice pack of Upper Deck cards. They were nice – super glossy without the powdery remains of the chewing gum. Most times though, you spent some of that money on Nerds and you were left with just enough to buy a pack of Score.
It was a simple thing. If you got doubles, you traded with your friend. I remember when I first started collecting. I thought it was a big deal when I hit the 100 card mark. “Wow I finally have 100 baseball cards!” Of course, when the numbers got into the thousands, you looked back at that day and laughed.
The older you get, though, the more complicated things seem to get. It became a serious venture. I had friends who would spend hundreds of dollars on a single card. Luckily for me, I got out before things got that serious.
Collecting music’s not too different I reckon. I recently had an experience much like my young baseball card collecting days. An older friend of mine had his apartment broken into about 7 or 8 months ago. He lost several boxes of vinyl and all of his CDs. His vinyls were sitting down in his basement as he had no record player or safer place to store them. Needless to say, he was pissed. He commented about how he knew he still had several hundred vinyls at his brother-in-law’s house down in Virginia, and he would be bringing them up to PA for him within the next couple of weeks.
He told me that since he didn’t trust storing such valuable treasures in his apartment, and since he didn’t have a record player, that I could have the records. I waited anxiously for weeks for those sons of bees to get here!
Finally one day at work he came in and said the records were here! I went out, loaded them into my car, and headed home. Oh how I felt the simplicity of collecting again! I felt like a little kid looking through a fresh pack of baseball cards hoping to find a real keeper. I dug through hundreds and hundreds of vinyls. Lots and lots of crap, but lots and lots of treasures as well. It seemed simple at the time, as I am fairly new at record collecting.
However, after scoring hundreds of top quality records for free, I found myself unsatisfied with my collection and longing for more. This drove me to record shops, music expos, wherever I could find records. Sure I still found lots of goodies in the dollar bins, but I also found myself willing to spend amounts of money that I just didn’t have … for a black vinyl disc with grooves in them.
I reckon I ain’t much better than them folks who spent hundreds of dollars on a little piece of cardboard with Nolan Ryan’s picture on it. I reckon it’s just as silly and definitely not as simple as buying a pack of cards at the mini mart.
What can you do though? Everyone’s got their poison. Mine happens to be big black frizbees.