Sometimes I wish I could get back all the money I ever spent on baseball cards.
I could take the funds and buy a small island. And one of those scooters that get 800 miles to the gallon. Oh, and braces for the kids’ teeth. You know, important stuff.
Unfortunately, if I were to sell all my cards, I would get back only a fraction of what I paid for them. A pack of baseball cards back when I was a kid cost about 80 cents. You got something like 12 cards then; now the packs are $2.99 and some have only three cards.
Heck, I can remember thinking about stealing them when they went up past a dollar per pack (you can read more about that in my still-unwritten autobiography, “Confessions of Pre-Teen Hoodlum).
What I ended up with from years of collecting were literally thousands of cards and literally thousands of dollars spent. A quick check of the price guides, however, reveals that those thousands of cards now have a total value of only a few dollars. If you’re looking for a sound investment, try pork bellies — because most baseball cards are like your vehicle, declining in value from the moment you pull the temporary paper mats out of the floorboards.
Of course, that’s monetary value we’re talking about. Truth is, some of the most worthless cards I have managed to hang on to somehow take me back to the carefree, pre-9/11, pre-responsibility days of my youth.
Seeing these cards is like having a time machine, and you can’t put a price on that. Not that I wouldn’t try to put a price on it if I did have a time machine. I’d take the money from selling it and buy a small island. I’d call it, “Man Cave Island,” population, one.
But anyway ...
A few months ago, the Cain Center here in Athens had a community garage sale. I hate the name (“de Junque de Trunk”), but I love the event.
I’m a sucker for garage sales. I don’t like using cliches, but you just never know what you’re going to find.
I found a time machine.
I wandered the gymnasium where the sale is held as my wife tediously flipped through every speck of someone’s soon-to-be-our-problem former scrapbooking collection. (It should be noted here that I’m lobbying to have “possession of scrapbooking paraphernalia” criminalized as at least a Class B misdemeanor with our representatives down in Austin.)
Underneath one of the tables that had been set up was a box full of unopened baseball cards, most still in the case. I wondered how this box hadn’t already been scooped up, and then looked at the burgeoning cluster of people forming around the scrapbook table and understood.
“Those are $5 a box,” the seller said to me.
If you’re like me, you grew up buying one or two packs of cards but dreaming about walking into the store one day and carrying out an entire case (paid for, mind you — I wasn’t a pre-teen hoodlum in my dreams).
That dream was about to come true for the first time in my life.
I didn’t buy every box the seller had — just the ones with which I was familiar, including an unopened case of 1988 Donruss featuring Atlanta Braves slugger Dale Murphy on the front — skinny arms and neck and all.
I felt like a liberator, rescuing these heroes of my youth who had been stacked in a box underneath a table that (gasp) proudly displayed ceramic angels and wooden craftwork and a partial collection of Deal-A-Meal cards.
Included in my purchases was an unopened collection of cards claiming to feature “Baseball’s Best ’88.” Sure enough, I could peek through the cellophane and see some of the heroes of my youth.
Mark McGwire. Barry Bonds. Roger “The Rocket” Clemens. They used to have skinny necks and arms, too, before they unwittingly ushered in baseball’s Steroid Era.
I’ve yet to open any of the packs I bought and I don’t plan on it. I already know what’s inside — a bunch of cards not worth more than 12 or 15 cents each. Even so, I got everything I was looking for, and so much more.
Although it would be kind of interesting to see how 25-year-old gum tastes ...
Jayson Larson would like to remind you the statute of limitations has expired on any alleged crimes committed during his pre-teen years. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometimes I wish I could get back all the money I ever spent on baseball cards.
Rolling into something new
She did it.
My baby girl rolled over for the first time this past week while daddy and mommy were watching closely.
As other major news broke across the county, watching my baby roll over for the first time was by far the biggest news of the week for me. Odd.
Fanfare is a time to prepare for another season
I love to see the talent our student athletes have across Henderson County. To know that each player puts in the blood, sweat and tears to play for a district championship and hopefully a state title is something special to see.
Another great in the world of sports is a player who is retiring this season in New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
Jeter once said, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do — and I believe that.”
The greatest country in the world has hungry children
No child should go hungry. We are the greatest country in the world, yet we have hungry children.
An article I recently read said that if a child in school can't afford lunch, they will be given a sandwich and water. I was told the sandwich is cheese between two pieces of bread.
I hope everyone realizes that is what they serve in the county jail. Not that I know this from personal experience. I was told from someone who did know from experience.
Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase.
Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze.
It means no worries for the rest of your days.
It's our problem-free philosophy.
Congratulations, if you have watched the Lion King a couple of times you now have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
It was a week in the depth of heat, then cooler
Sunday and Monday of this week have been very uncomfortable. The air conditioner at our house has been down, and the temperature outside and in the house have been way up.
Thank God for the blessing of the cool temperatures and the rain that fell on Tuesday, then on Wednesday. It changed things just a little bit.
Time away is necessary for everyone
I can remember as a kid writing essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” As the years pass, and we are more in-tune with the workplace, those vacations get shorter and shorter.
Do you ever have those days when you just need a vacation? Sometimes you just need to get away.
Taking time off work should be fun and rejuvenating. We all need a recharge every now and then. But vacations aren't what they use to be. We rarely disconnect ourselves from our jobs.
Student athletes: Time to wake up and get to work
Hey student athletes, it is about time for you to wake up and get to work.
Your summer is coming to an end, and the early morning wake up calls for practices are right around the corner.
I am talking to the football players, volleyball players, cross country kids, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders.
Remember who you are
Are you running so fast that you have forgotten why you started the race in the first place?
Life moving at a blistering pace that it is tough to keep up?
Maybe it is time to stop, take a deep look into the pool of water and remember. Remember who you are.
On numerous occasions, I have had to do just that. Ironically, various movies have caused me to look inside.
CSUMC provided a memorable experience
My wife Jean and I went to a very interesting, and what I consider a very unique event last Saturday night.
I had heard that the church where we are members, Carroll Springs United Methodist Church, was having an event in which people sitting in the audience would sing their favorite hymns into a microphone.
Independence ultimately won on battlefield
I always enjoy celebrating Independence Day, and hearing some of the stirring words written in the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that our Creator has given us certain rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The way I see it, if I have life and liberty, that gives me a pretty good start on the third one.
But as eloquent as our founding fathers were, and how moving the texts they left behind, one fact can’t be overlooked. Our independence was ultimately won and secured on the battlefield.
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