Land Of The Lost

When I put together a list of things I am attracted to in people, one of them is people who have a passion for things.  It sounds simple but it’s fairly rare.  By this I mean, music, literature, fashion, history, movies, art, football, architecture, travelling, food, what have you.  Your kids don’t count.  Anything that can return love doesn’t count so there goes your wife, husband, parents, dog, fish, etc.

I watched August Rush a few days ago (if you skip it you won’t be missing much) but there is a line Robin Williams says that you have to like music more than you like food.  That hit a nerve with me.  I am sure if my options were losing a finger or never watching movies ever again, my left pinky would be getting really nervous, really fast.

This was a criteria of mine because I have things I love and you can’t understand that unless you’ve been there.  My parents never understood it.  I don’t really know if my brother does.  His wife Danielle once said Bobby loves football and even he denied it.  I explained to his wife that he likes football but he doesn’t love it.  It gets excited when the season starts and he follows coaches he likes but he doesn’t own a single piece of football merchandise save a Florida Gator sweatshirt he bought because he was cold.  I have never seen him get into an argument about football and I have known him over thirty years.  He doesn’t read books or magazines about football.  He just enjoys it as a fan and there is nothing wrong with that.

Maybe a decade or so ago my family and I were talking about death (yeah, my family does that… look the reaper dead in the eye and whisper, “is that all you got, Susie?”  Somewhere in the conversation it was made clear in the untimely event of my death, my comic book collection that I had amassed since 1986 would promptly be taken to the flea market and sold.  And not sold for value, sold just to get rid of them.

I can see my mother behind a makeshift table built from plywood and two table horses surrounded by a fort of longboxes telling people, “Fifty cents a piece!”

My first appearance of Venom in Spider-Man #298 signed by Todd McFarlane?  “One dollar,” she’d yell like a carnival barker.

Superman #1 signed by John Byrne.  “Five dollars and you can have the whole stack.”

I shudder to think of what happen to my Crisis On Infite Earths hardcover signed by George Perez and Marv Wolfman where he wrote, “When I kill The Flash… he stays dead.”  Actually it doesn’t say that… not that I didn’t ask him to write it.  He refused.  On eBay, that’d be like a picture of Harry Houdini locking his keys in his car.

When I moved to Orlando I remember coming home and finding my movie posters in a box in the garage.  Not rolled or even (dare I say it… folded), just jammed in there like used wrapping paper on Christmas morning.  Full Metal Jacket.  The Goonies.  Back To The Future.

I came home and called my friend Jessica and asked if I died and sent her my comics, would she keep them safe and maybe her son, Jordan (who was five) could read them when he was older.  She agreed.  Since then, that’s always been the plan.  Even I don’t know why I have some of the stuff I have.  Probably because there has never been a Natalie to stop me.  Replica lightsaber… check.  Gopher that dances to Kenny Loggin’s “I’m All Right”… check.  Cast Away Wilson volleyball, Hovito fertility God, singing Mogwai… check, check and check.  Crouching Tiger, Reservoir Dogs, Bruce Lee action figures?  Got ’em.

Only now when I come home with movies do I feel a little guilty because she sees the Best Buy bag and asks what I got.  Luckily, we’re not at the point in our relationship (and hopefully never will be) that she gives me shit for it.  Honestly, I need this copy of The Road Warrior.

God doesn’t let me have lots of expendable income because I honestly would give this dude $3 million dollars and then turn around and open a museum or maybe donate the whole shebang to the Library of Congress.  I feel for the guy because he’s probably been having one hell of a great time his whole life amassing a collection that is unrivaled but unfortunately, important only to him.

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2 thoughts on “Land Of The Lost

  1. Jim,

    That is the saddest thing I’ve heard in a while.

    This guy has the WORLD’S LARGEST RECORD COLLECTION of a MILLION PLUS records valued at 50 millions dollars and no one will offer him 3 million for it?

    I was sure that some private collector or museum would have purchased it by now.

    What he says about the compression is true- but younger ears have been trained to want the cleanest of sound, and suddenly using digital equipment capable of simulating the scratchiness of a record is a novel idea.

    How about the fact that 83% of the music created from 1948 to 1966 is essentially on it’s way out? 18 years worth of music that many people HAVE NEVER EVEN HEARD and may NEVER get to hear. THAT is both haunting and tragic. It’s practically an endangered species meaning the music not produced in another medium for those years and in a larger sense, the ‘species’ of records themselves.

    Music in how it is sold has lost something- something that existed in a time period that I never got to witness.

    I remember a clip from an episode of the tv series American Dreams where a new record was coming out and the record stores were all sold out and the clerk held one copy for the girl he liked.

    That doesn’t happen anymore. A cd comes out and your local bestbuy has a shelf full of them. Now, we might be quick to skip over that in the name of convenience. After all, who wants to drive across town to pick up that album they’ve been looking forward to only to find that the store has been sold out.

    Only, doesn’t that make the item itself and the experience of finding it more valuable? Because of how music is sold it is no longer a hopeful treasure hunt but a monetary transaction and a business acquisition.

    And less and less local music stores. Less and less shopowners and employees willing to actually help you find something, talk to you about the music, suggest other artists you may never have even heard of or listened to.

    More and more chain-store employees punching a clock, killing time.

    I hold nothing against anyone working in one of these stores, it’s a job. But in relation to the music, it’s not the same.

    Since I never lived through the period of records, it can’t be nostalgia. However, I still WISH that there was some uncertainty to the whole thing. Less of some mass-produced business and more of the meaning that music in how it is sold once had.

    In the search for “quick, fast, and easy”, we’ve really lost something.

  2. Jim,

    What to do w/ your comics:
    write a damn will! you’re about to marry a lawyer, right? I bet she knows someone who can write out a will to leave them to your nephew or a library or a friend or Scott Tipton or whoever you want. Or to have your estate sell them in a certain way, or whatever. And then revise your will so that your kid(s)(?) or whoever get them.

    My question for that guy, is what the hell is his wife going to do with his records when he kicks the bucket?

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