Collecting everything

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Anyone who has visited me at my Pikes Peak Courier View office knows that I collect bumper stickers; I haven't worked out of The Tribune office in Monument long enough to have much of a collection there, yet.

Actually, I collect a lot of things. In fact, my sister tells people she collects cookie jars and Depression Glass and I collect everything else. That's a bit of an exaggeration but certainly not too far off the mark.

Anyway the door to my office was pasted with 11 year's worth of bumper stickers, everything from an “Adopt a Bat” sticker from Carlsbad Caverns (or as my son Carl says “Carl's-not-bad Caverns”) to two different “Divide, Colorado: Center of the Known Universe” stickers. At last count, there were 58 stickers of all sizes and shapes on that glass door, providing a bit of privacy during closed-door interviews and topics of conversation for visitors.

Soon, however, we will be moving our offices into new digs upstairs in the same building and I had a dilemma. Do I scrape all those stickers off, discard them and move on? Do I put them in a scrap book or turn them into a collage? Do I ask to keep the door or offer to buy it and hang it somewhere as art?

I went with scraping them off and moving on. You'll likely see most of them next summer at a yard sale near you. Of course, I'm not getting rid of all them. There are a few favorites that I will keep, such as my J.R.R. Tolkien quote: “Not all who wander are lost.” I love the irony because unless you're the heir of Elendil and the future King of Gondor, chances are if you're wandering, you're lost. One thing, though, you won't see them on my car.

One might ask why I collect bumper stickers or anything else for that matter. Good question; I'll try to come up with an answer.

Coin and comics collector Jim Halperin lists 10 reasons in his article, “Why Do We Collect Things?” He list includes knowledge and learning, relaxation and stress reduction, social interaction with fellow collectors and others, recognition by same; the desire to control, possess and bring order to a small (or even a massive) part of the world; nostalgia and/or a connection to history and accumulation and diversification of wealth.

Of his 10 items only one or possibly two fit me: personal pleasure and, maybe, nostalgia. As for the other reasons, I don't know anyone in the collecting world that I care to have recognize me and one must have wealth to accumulate it, n'est-ce pas? (I don't speak French, I just like writing that.)

Whatever the reason I collect things, I'm in good company. Like Jane Seymore, I also collect teapots (she probably has a lot more than my measly 60 or so) and like Tom Hanks, who collects old typewriters, I collect antique office gadgets. At least (mostly) I don't keep either of these collections at work.

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