Collecting is fun for all, no matter what the object

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 1, 2001

People collect things.

Wednesday, August 01, 2001

People collect things. It is one of the things that we are good at. We have a need to create stacks, piles and displays.

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We collect stamps, coins, dolls, paintings, string, maps, barbed wire, baseball cards, wines too expensive to drink, commemorative plates, porcelain figurines, beer cans, ornaments, books, toy tractors, hats, old cars, expired coupons and ex-spouses. Sometimes we even collect things that don’t deserve to be collected. Some grown men with actual jobs and families collect Pez dispensers – little contraptions with a plastic head that spits out something vaguely resembling candy. I have heard that some folks even eat this alleged candy.

Everybody collects something. Man was once a hunter-gatherer. Now we are collectors.

Some men collect old tractors. My father was one of those. The only difference with Dad is that he didn’t know that he was collecting old tractors, because he was too busy farming with them.

A lot of people collect slightly used exercise equipment. It is a rare household that does not have at least a couple of these idle pieces lurking in a closet, in an attic or under a bed. We all set out trying to lose a few pounds and end up trying to lose an ugly piece of exercise equipment that acts as a monument to our futile attempt at weight loss.

Nearly everyone collects old ink pens. If you will check the drawers of your desk or the mugs housing pens, you will find a plethora of pens that have run out of ink. I guess we keep them around because we are an optimistic lot. I finally went through a bunch of the old pens in my office and threw a lot of them away. I miss them. I guess I admired the way they accepted their uselessness.

My wife, The Queen B, married me for better or worse. People say that I couldn’t have done better and she couldn’t have done any worse. The Queen B collects rare photos. She has one of me that shows me in the act of actually putting dirty clothing into a clothes’ hamper. This one has to be seen to be believed. Such a photo is priceless. The Queen B is waiting for the National Enquirer to make its final offer on this gem.

She also collects screwdrivers – we have 8,219 of them in our house. Yet, we can never find one when we need one. She is out purchasing more as I write this.

Some men scratch themselves (okay, every man scratches himself) and then save whatever it is that they can pry, peel or knock from their bodies. This can be done without the necessity of bothering a single brain cell and gives us men something to do while we sit around and wait for our bellies to grow bigger.

A resident of Hartland, Bearly Human, who looks just like you’d think someone named Bearly Human would look, collects whoopee cushions. Bearly has a brilliant mind when it comes to disgusting noises.

Another fellow who calls Hartland home, Rex Tode, a tow truck driver, used to collect items sold on late night TV infomercials. He had a vast collection of Veg-O-Matics and Pocket Fishermen. When Rex wasn’t fishing, he sliced, he diced, and he even made julienne fries. He liked to do this as he applied hair from a spray can to his balding head while listening to Slim Whitman’s greatest hits. Then one day he had to have a malfunctioning Salad Shooter surgically removed from a very tender part of his body. He came home from the emergency room of the hospital and sliced, diced and julienned his favorite Pocket Fisherman. Such incidents are how hobbies end.

Local mover, Kari DeSofa, collects rocks that she thinks look like they may have fallen out of her husband’s head. Let’s not forget those who collect potatoes that resemble famous people. Oh, let’s go ahead and forget them.

Yes, everyone collects something. Me? I want to collect something that doesn’t require a lot of effort. So, I collect bills. Bills make for an easy collection to accumulate. First, you wait for your spouse to buy something. I have found that the waiting time here is not very long. Then the bill comes in the mail. Do not panic and make the mistake of paying the bill right away. This is the secret to collecting an impressive number of bills. If you do not pay the bill, a wonderful thing happens. They send you another bill for your collection.

Hartland resident Al Batt writes columns for the Wednesday and Sunday editions of the Tribune.