Tuesday, February 25, 2020

This man's treasure is most likely trash

A rare collectible that pays for a mansion and a yacht may be waiting in a dusty corner of your parents’ basement. However, not in mine. What I found there barely covers the latest increase in my cable bill.

This tale of discovery, or rather lack thereof one, started in North Dakota. A man there recently learned that a Rolex watch he had tucked away for half a century was worth up to $700,000, according to a story I saw last week on the evening news. This made me wonder if I too might have hidden away somewhere a precious antique, a conclusion based mainly on the logic that I am so old I still watch the evening news.

So I called up my father and told him the time had come. I would be by the next day to clean my stuff out of his house. If you suppose this would be some Herculean task, you obviously have talked to my mother. From the day I moved out of my parents’ house until the day she died in 2014, any conversation she had with me, supermarket cashiers or telemarketers eventually turned to the urgent need for me to “get those boxes out of the basement.”

Were they blocking a fire exit or access to her freezer full of Lean Cuisines? Nope. These four boxes sat on a table along a wall in dark and dusty cellar as big and as otherwise as empty as an ice cream shop during a Minnesota blizzard.

I knew, more or less, what those boxes contained so instead I first headed to my old bedroom. I hadn’t left much there beyond several dozen paperbacks, my portable Smith Corona typewriter from college and an unshelled peanut upon which I had drawn a smiley face. Why I can remember that this peanut came from an experiment we did in high school biology class but not why I kept it will remain one of those unexplainable phenomena like crop circles and fat-free cheese.

To the basement I did proceed to retrieve the four boxes. One contained about 100 paperbacks of “Peanuts” comic strips. My scouring of the online collector’s market turned up a surprising increase in their value from, say, a purchase price of 75 cents back in the day to (drumroll) $2.99 today. Maybe. Before shipping. And handling. And fees.

Another box contained my baseball card collections. Back when I was ripping open wax packs from the five-and-dime, these promised to be my retirement fund. But that was the time card collecting was becoming big business and with big business comes bigger greed. The market became flooded and now most baseball cards from that era are mainly valuable only when propped under the leg of a wobbly table. By the way, I will confirm that bubble gum they came also failed to hold up after 40-odd years.

Box No. Three contained other “Peanuts:” non-collectibles and more baseball cards along with various school mementos and a baseball signed by the Little League team I played on at age 10. I plan to Google them all in case one of my teammates became famous, infamous or runs a pawn shop.

The final box contained more sports memorabilia, mostly stuff I collected from games I attended while growing up. Alas, as they say, timing is everything and growing up a fan of the New York Mets and Jets during the lowly Joe Torre/Walt Michaels eras of those teams won’t help with my current mortgage payment.
It definitely won’t pay for the divorce lawyer I’m going to need when my wife starts complaining she wants all these boxes out of her basement, too.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash


  1. I'm still trying to get past the idea that your childhood bedroom still has your stuff in it!!!!!

    1. Not much. My room essentially became an eighth closet for my mom's clothes, many of which still had the tags on them.

  2. Fat free cheese has no place in my grocery cart, not to mention my fridge.

    1. It's not food. It's texture. Spongy, nasty texture.


REMEMBER: You're at your sexiest when you comment.


My Uncool Past