The Importance of Collections

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“I collected MASH episodes on VHS,” my colleague proudly states. He notices my bewildered look, so he begins to explain. “I recorded each MASH episode from the television…” He shares how he organized the tapes and documented when the different episodes started and ended. He also explains that he used the MASH collection book as a reference to know which episodes he had already taped and which ones he still needed to get. His face, lit with enthusiasm, conveys how much he enjoyed the collecting process. I can only imagine the kind of joy he felt when he completed his collection.

“I threw it out all out though, when they became available on dvd.”

“What? Why did you do that?” another teacher interjects, “It would have been interesting to see your handwriting on the various notes you created to organize your tapes. I’m sure your handwriting and those tapes say a lot about you are and who you were.”

“It seems to be part of human nature to want to collect,” someone contributes.

“Yeah, but there is a difference between collecting and hoarding.”

We all nod in agreement.

I add that I collected X-Men cards. I got my first few cards because my best friend at the time gave me the multiples from his collection. In the beginning, I was stuck with the worst cards. As a result, I haphazardly kept them in my pockets and loosely throughout my Jansport bookbag. Then, the cards started to have value for me; when I bought my first pack, all the cards, regardless of worth or popularity, belonged to me. Also, the cards were numbered in the back, and I suddenly wanted to have the entire collection. I began to trade with others, and buy packs of cards incessantly until I had all of the cards.

Unfortunately, I did not finish the collection, falling a few exclusive cards short of the goal. I lost interest in the seeming fad, and later focused my attention on other things.

What did/do you collect? What do/did your collections say about you, now or at that time? What passions does/did your collection highlight?

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