Friday, February 8, 2008

Amass Appeal

"What's the deal with collecting? Why do so many go so batty over stamps, coins and just about anything else?" That quote starts the article "Amass Appeal" in the latest edition of AARP magazine. It really caught my interest.

I've never been a pack-rat. I don't really collect anything. There was one guy by the name of Barry Levenson that was downtrodden about his beloved Red Sox losing to the New York Mets in 1986. Standing in a market he was looking for something to ease the pain. He started staring at mustard! He also went on to think that if he collected mustard the Red Sox would eventually win. I think it is coincidence, but since then the Red Sox have won twice. Now he has a museum to house all his mustard that he has collected from all over! Picture to the left.

It does amaze me at the things some people collect. Some of my relatives collect all kinds of items. One collects dolls, another will collect porcelain angels and so on. Some people I know have so many things that it lines their entire walls. What do you do with all of that stuff? Just look at it? Or, maybe if your industrious, dust it. Others collect stamps, coins, you name it.

The article's bottom line is that people just love to do it. Every week you'll find people on Ebay searching to increase their collection. You'll find flea markets crammed with buyers and sellers of just about anything imaginable. Maybe I just don't get it.

As I said before, I'm not a packrat. If I don't need something, I get rid of it. I don't like clutter and I'm pretty well organized. Now, I do have some things that I wouldn't part with. I have a box of old cards and letters that loved ones and friends have written to me that have sentimental value. Those are priceless. It's like the song by Wayne Watson, "Watercolor Ponies" that talks about the special picture his child had drawn for him. But, I don't see that as collecting. I see it as a sentimental reason for holding on to something.

Yes, I have some odds and ends that are special to me. I won a tie that Peter Strauss had worn in one of his movies. That is special to me. But, I don't collect everything on this one actor. I also have a 45 rpm record framed. Why? It's the logo on the 45 by RCA. It takes me back to my earliest days of music that came on 45's. My first music purchase ever was B.J. Thomas' "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" on 45.

So, yes, I have some things that are special to me. But, again, I'm not a packrat and don't collect any "one" thing. I hate clutter. Especially paper clutter. If I don't need it, it goes. I have one friend that collects hundreds of DVD's. How in the world will he ever have time to watch all of these movies? I have a small collection (if you want to call it that) of favorites that I'll watch from time to time. But, collecting is a lifestyle to some.

My final take is this: We'll leave it all behind anyway. What good is collecting and hoarding going to do anyone? I did collect the state quarters for awhile and finally stopped. I was getting less-than-mint coins and it would take so long to get them all. Then, what would I do? Sit there and stare at them and then put them away? Sure, I have some things I'd not want to part with. But, I don't consider them collections. They are just sentimental items that really only mean something to me. However, we are all different. To be fair, maybe I just don't understand the thinking of a collector. To put a spiritual spin on it, do some people collect because there's an emptiness inside they are trying to fill? The old song says, "The world may try to satisfy that longing in your soul/ You may search the wide world over but you'll be just as before/ You'll never find true satisfaction
Until you've found the Lord/ For only Jesus can satisfy your soul." In the long run, all things will turn to dust. Sure, God does give us special things to enjoy in life. I have to admit though, I don't understand the whole collecting thing. Be well all.


  1. I'm not much of a collector either, though I have thought at various times that it would be fun to be a stamp or coin collector since those things don't take up much space. I know a man who started collecting silver dollars when he joined the military after WWII and now some of his coins are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. To me, that would be a legacy to pass on to my family if the world is still around. (And now he plans to pass that money down to his kids.) But you're right, everything will become dust eventually!