Back in the days I had an allowance and few financial responsiblities, I briefly became a collector of things. The seeds, I suppose, were planted by my childhood collection of Star Wars action figures (which met a tragic end in an alluminum storage building one blistering Texas summer), and the all star cast of Barbie and friends who acted out my early storytelling efforts, before being relegated to the attic where a family of squirrels nested in their Interstellar Luxury Cruiser, aka Barbie Dream Mobile Home.
But in general, I collected things to use, not things to put on a shelf. (Books, obviously, being the exception.) But like many youngsters with money and time on their hands, I fell into bad company. By which I mean the best company, but a company of enablers.
There were four of us, who met in a fan fiction chat room, as one does when you’re in school and procrastinating that term paper. Two were already master hunters and gatherers of collectibles, and they soon showed CM and me the ways of the Force.
See, it wasn’t just about owning the thing. It was the stalking of the prey and the tireless pursuit once started. Trips to every Toys R Us in Birmingham, crawling under independent toy store shelves to see if just maybe they had that one Breyer Arabian way back behind the others. And eBay. Good God, eBay. You never saw someone so good at the Gamesmanship of the Snipe as my friend S.
At first I was content to come along for the ride. But I’m a nerd, which means there is a larger than average world of things for me to collect. First there was that Eowyn action figure…and so I had to get Aragorn. And Legolas came with a horse. And speaking of horses, there are Breyers, where the only grooming required is a bit of dusting now and then.
Obviously you couldn’t have a Rogue action figure without a
Magneto Gambit action figure, and that Victorian Christmas Barbie’s green velvet bustled gown is exactly what you would wear if you were a Victorian lady at Christmas. Other people gamble. I played to find a gem at a price that fit in my grad student budget.
But collecting takes time and money and space, and when you chuck everything to become a starving artist, you don’t really have any of those. You have way better things—but you have to clear out temporal, financial, and emotional space for them.
And let’s face it. Keeping things Mint in Box takes up a lot of room.
Long story long, my
toys collectibles now have a size and monetary limit. Because I’m an adult that way.
So, back to eBay, in the circular way of things. I’ve just gotten back from the post office where I said a nostalgic farewell to 1998 Portrait Edition Princess Leia in the Medal Ceremony Gown from the end of Star Wars.
In the end it was less painful than immediately saying farewell to the money she brought me, as I sent it off to pay my taxes.
In the immortal words of Sir Paul McCartney: “Hello Goodbye.”