One Man’s Collection Is Another Man’s Trash
Lately I have been seeing a lot of things online about people and their collections of this that and the other thing. It seems that if it exists there is someone who collects it. I was never much of a collector. I left all of that to my older brother.
Jimmy was just a little guy when someone gave him some stamps and an album to stick them in. That gift lit the fuse in him and he became a serious stamp collector…or a “Philatelist” as he chose to be called. He kept on collecting for decades and turned his hobby into a significant bankroll.
I saw how much pleasure he got out of his stamp collection so I figured that I’d try it.
I found it to be mind numbingly boring and my collection soon found its way into one of my brother’s albums.
“Stamps: Free to a good home.”
I tried coin collecting. I was a failure at being a Numismatist too. At least the stamps were colorful. The coins were as exciting as dirt.
As the years passed and my brother and I moved on our separate paths his collecting gene kept him accumulating stuff while I went in the other direction and worked hard at getting rid of things. I began to suspect that one of us was adopted. He was dark and muscular. I was pale and flabby, but I had seen our birth certificates so there was no doubt about our lineage.
It was in the 1970s when the next Great Collection Storm began. I started collecting British Sports Cars. I didn’t let it get out of hand. My collection topped out at One. They take up room.
I was living in Cleveland. He was in the suburbs of Washington D.C. It had been awhile since I had driven down there to visit him, his wife and kids. I just assumed that he was still into Stamps. The stamps had become residents in a safe deposit box silently gathering in value. He had started a new collection that gave him both pleasure and the need for additional space.
I was both shocked and mystified when I walked into their den and saw row after row of shelves on
every wall filled with Beer Cans. Empty beer cans.
It had never occurred to me that anyone would collect beer cans. I don’t drink beer. I don’t like beer. I don’t have even one beer can, full or empty, in my life. He had hundreds. Of course I was given a detailed tour informing me about the “vintage” of each can. My brother made a good docent. The tour did not end in a gift shop. I have to admit that his display was both overwhelming and disturbing. Someone had to have chugged all that beer. His wife was nurse and couldn’t show up for work smelling like she hung out with Clydesdales and their daughters were significantly underage.
People love to collect things. They all have their own reasons, much like I have my reasons for not collecting things. My reasons result in a lot less dusting, but who am I to shake my head and go “tsk, tsk.”
I never criticized or belittled my brother’s collection of beer cans. It could have been worse. He could have collected Italian Sports Cars.