by Paul Chaplin
I entered a rehab clinic last week. Then I left almost immediately, because I was looking for the post office, which was next door. Naturally the experience got me to thinking about stamps (briefly, because I don't know a lot about them and I really don't care to learn at this late date) which led inevitably to the hobbies and fixations of my boyhood.
I was a callow youth. At least I assume I was. I mean who wasn't in those days? And I did collect stamps, briefly, but I couldn't avoid the sense of sadness that pervades that endeavor.
Coin collecting, however, there's a muscular undertaking. I did that for a couple years, quitting finally when I acquired an 1857 "Flying Eagle" penny. I figured, what more can I possibly accomplish? And when you take into account that I also successfully owned an 1891-O Liberty dime, well, you can easily see that I was one heck of a coin collector.
What is it about stamps as opposed to coins? The phrase "stamp collector" has become synonymous with any number of undesirable typologies, like "lives with mother" or "has a specific place for his egg cartons," yet for some reason a man who collects coins is assumed to possess a kind of mystery sensuality.
I've thought a lot about it, and here's the deal: Who cares about stamps? They reek of impermanence and loss, and besides they're a dime a dozen: Governments print new stamps like McDonalds cranks out movie tie-ins. Don't even bother me about stamps, is my attitude.
There is no swaying me. I'd have more respect for someone who collects old phone cords.