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Collecting As A Hobby: Rewarding But So Addictive

Aug 18, 2007
People collect just about everything, often items that are of absolutely no value in the real sense - yet vast quantities of cash are spent by collectors every year on their chosen 'addiction'. So what makes them do it?

It's no surprise that men are the ones who collect most - the ladies think we're batty enough anyway and refuse to become involved. When you do come across a lady who is a collector, however, they are usually the no-holds-barred type who will perpetrate almost any action to get that vital piece!

So what do people collect? Answer - anything. A friend of mine collects sand. No, he's not off his rocker (not quite, anyway!) and says he enjoys his hobby. How did it come about? A potted (or should that be potty?) history -

My friend travels extensively with his work, throughout the UK and Europe and latterly the USA. He told me he was in Ayr, Scotland once and, having finished work for the day and being at a loose end took a stroll on the beach.

For some reason (even he couldn't say why) he was struck by the colour of the sand. Feeling rather self-conscious he fished around his pockets and found an envelope. Stooping, he quickly put a handful of sand in it.

"To this day I don't know why," he confessed to me. "It was just one of those things you do on the spur of the moment."

Whatever the reason, that spur of the moment action - now fifteen years ago - started his collecting hobby. Sure, it's a little outlandish to some but nowhere near as bizarre as people who collect toast or pickled organs (and I'm not kidding either!). So what does he do with it?

Nothing much, really. He pours each fresh find into a jar, carefully, so as not to disturb the last one. Result? A jar full of sand that is in different layers, sometimes very subtly different in terms of texture and colour, sometimes wildly so. He's even exhibited them at a local art gallery! I know this sounds crazy but when you look at these things, under studio lighting, they really are quite beautiful.

He told me a while ago that it's his ambition to collect sand from every seaboard on every nation possible. He knows he'll never accomplish his task but this, generally, is the nature of collecting when the 'bug' has well and truly bitten. The search is always on for that one, last, perfect piece, that rarity that makes the collection complete - until you find the one you missed! As has been said in the past - 'perfection cannot be attained but it should always be striven for'.

So it is with collectors. The knowledge that there might, just might, be a better stamp, or vase, or whatever out there in the world better than the one already in your collection is something that keeps died-in-the-wool collectors awake on long dark nights, fretting endlessly whilst pacing thefloorboards. Not true? You bet your life it is!

My theory is that, for men at least, it goes back to when we were little kids with pockets full of elastic bands, bits of string and the odd conker. We all started, at one time, a collection of bubble gum cards, competing fiercely to get the whole 'set'. I am of the opinion that this 'bug', caught in childhood, often lies dormant until something wakens it in later life. Problem then is that we often have more money and time to indulge our obsessions!

Am I a collector? Well, I'n trying desperately not to be. I do have quite a number of old shaving-related items and quite an assortment (I try not to use the word collection, it's far too risky) of straight razors that has somehow increased significantly in the last few years. But I'm not a collector. No. I just like to - have things. You know, just - have them around. That's OK, isn't it?

Well thanks for reading this short (and hopefully cautionary) article about 'the bug'. I have to go now and look at my collection - oh, heck, there's that dangerous word again . . .
About the Author
If you have the collector's bug don't despair, you are not alone. To see what I do not collect, have a look here
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