Whittling Away: Collecting


By Dick Brooks

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of a man named Dick Brooks.

I’ve almost been rich lots of times and it still might happen. 

I’ve planned for my financial future by collecting all sort of interesting items that some day will pay off like a slot machine with a case of mechanical diarrhea. 

There’s a bag full of Happy Meal toys in the basement, the result of years of trips to Ronald’s house with the boys. They’re all still in their bags and in mint condition, so someday they will be worth a fortune, maybe even $2 to $3 each.

The Princess has her hoard of Beanie Babies stashed in her old bedroom. The 300 or so of them should boost her bank account, at least according to the predictions made during the time I gathered them 18 or 19 years ago. She and I spent a lot of time together hunting down the more desirable of the squishy little critters. There seems to be a lag in the market value right now, but I’m sure it’ll spike again.

I have a large collection of baseball cards stored carefully in binders in a cupboard in the garage where they are safe from prying eyes and The Queen on a neatness purge. I have found that the female gender doesn’t quite understand this type of financial planning and I have had several fortunes disappear into various landfills.

One case in point being the time I learned what a Mickey Mantle rookie card was worth while watching a news program on TV. Remembering that I had two of them stashed in a shoe box in the attic of my childhood home, I rushed to the phone, only to find out that they had gone to the landfill the year before.

Coins may be my future route to riches. I’ve been collecting pennies most of my adult life. I don’t really do it knowingly, but the smallest coin of our land just seems to collect itself. I know there are a lot of them hiding under my dresser and several have found their way into my underwear drawer. There’s a nest of them living in my recliner and I’ll bet I could find enough of them to buy a candy bar, even at today’s inflated prices, under the seat in my car. I tried putting them in a large bottle I had acquired; it’s now full but so heavy that I can’t move it. 

We all know that the government is changing our money around and is finally modernizing our coinage. They changed the nickel and did such a good job it’s hard to tell from a quarter, so can it be long until it’s the penny’s turn? 

Copper being a metal that is rising in value, they’ll probably make the new penny out of aluminum, cardboard or laminated chicken fat. This will drive the price of the old copper pennies sky high. You’ll maybe be able to get a dollar for each and I know I’ve got about 3,000 of the things around the place. 

Our family’s financial future looks secure if only I can keep The Queen away from the trash bags. If I can’t accomplish that maybe I’ll look into getting a permit to mine local dumps and landfills. Think of all the things that have gone to the landfill from your house that you now wish hadn’t. 

There’s an untapped fortune waiting out there!

Thought for the week — Gun control is more than just being able to hit your target.

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach columnist Dick Brooks at whittlingaway@yahoo.com.

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