The definition of a collector is “a person who collects things of a specified type, professionally or as a hobby”. The definition of a packrat is “a person who saves unnecessary objects or hoards things.” If we are to accept these two definitions as true, then I would define myself as “a person who collects things other people view as unnecessary, with a compulsive and driving need to…….you know what, just leave me and my things alone!”
Maybe you understand me, and can share in my defense as to why I needed my daughter to have over 600 Beanie Babies for her room. Maybe you see the value I see, and can comprehend why my son has inherited my vast collection of Starting Lineups along with hundreds of thousands of baseball and football cards. Perhaps you, like I, can easily swing from one topic of collection to another, like the changing of the winds. Or possibly, I am alone in my ever need to collect something psychosis.
I suspect, however, there are far more people like me than will admit. There is such a rush in finding that one “thing”, that hidden gem that you have been searching for. The adrenaline of walking through a thrift store and stumbling onto a goldmine of vintage Star Wars characters or an entire collection of WWF wrestlers from the 90’s. It’s addicting! And I pray, if you have not experienced this, that you will one day. But I hope, at the same time, that it is not addictive, or genetic.
You see, someone like me will go to nearly any length for their goal. They will stretch their own personal ethics, and bypass silly things like boundaries and laws if the situation is right. For example, let me share a story with you.
In 2012, the men’s basketball team for the University of Kentucky won its 8th National Championship. My son fell in love with basketball that season, and I made it my personal vow that he would have an autograph from every player and coach that season.
It just so happened that a limited autograph session was made available in Hazard, Kentucky with Darius Miller (a personal favorite), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (fan favorite and eventual #2 pick in the draft), and Anthony Davis (son’s favorite, #1 pick, and heir to LeBron’s throne as “Greatest Basketball Player in His Generation”) were all made available to the public. And, even more exciting, it was FREE!!!!
Well, if you know nothing about college basketball, know that there is a thing called the Big Blue Nation. And that Nation is comprised of over 100,000 completely insane, irrational fans. So, given the opportunity to meet these conquering hero’s, gain an autograph, and to do so for free? They are going to show up in force.
So after waiting in the rain for over 5 hours at a car dealership where the event was held, we were notified that the player’s time was up, and that we were not going to get those autographs. Yeah, right. That’s like trying to keep pizza away from this big ol’ boy. It’s just not gonna happen!
Luck would have it that there was a side door to the building in which employees were able to come and go from the building. Did we sneak into that door? Well, let’s say “maybe”. Did we get to meet the three players? Possibly. Is there a custom 8th championship poster hanging in my room? You could say that. Does it have the signature of those three players (and many more)? You know it!!!
Breaking and entering? That might be a bit harsh. Trespassing? Hey, there were people in there already! Being observant and seeing an easy solution for the autograph problem? Guilty as charged!!!!
And why? Sure, there is some value in that, I suppose. But I needed to have it. I needed my son to have it. For a collector like myself, the perceived value is usually far greater than the monetary value. It fulfills something in me when I gather a missing piece of a collection. And I bet there are quite a few people out there just like me.