The collector

The collector

There’s something about collecting which is controlling and small minded. That the person doesn’t want to handle challenges in real life, so creates a miniature subordinated world in their own home, where they are in complete control. Like ardent collectors of toy soldiers, who re-enact famous battles of the past in their attics. 

I knew a guy who collected Marvel comics and a girl who collected china dolls and they were both finding substitutes for real relationships. The dolls, or collectables, series produced and released to the public one by one, string out the anticipation of the collector over an extended period of time. To my mind, most of these dolls are ugly as sin, and their porcelain bodies would be perfect targets for air rifle practice. I’d like to shoot them up – to hear the crack of their splintering bodies and see the angular fragments spewing into the air as the pellet smashes into them. Perhaps I’m digressing here…… 

The initial joy of the collector is in the collecting, the search to complete the set. Or with antiques, combing the markets and the elation of making a find. However, the anticipation during the journey of collecting gets replaced on completion of the search by an even stronger feeling, that of possession. At the slightest threat, the collection gets locked away, sadly imprisoned to ensure its longevity. Zen Buddhists would say the collectable was already broken or gone. That way you enjoy them more, and are not disappointed when they do break or get stolen. But it’s too late – the collection has already become part of the collector’s psyche. They now possess each other. The emotion of possession of material things in the collector can become so powerful that it transcends feelings for living things. 

And collectors exist in all walks of life, in numerous forms. The egomaniac collects people to work for him or as contacts. The investment banker collects deals. The hypochondriac collects ailments. The optimist collects dreams. And the womaniser, does he collect women? After all, the ultimate womaniser, Casanova, was a librarian. Does he orientate his life around sexual achievement, with the goal to have sex with as many partners as possible? Maybe each woman he penetrates strengthens him in some way. There could be a future society where recognition and thus status comes from a counter on the forehead that faithfully clocks up your penetration count. Should it be like conkers, where you inherit the sexual score of your last partner and add it to your own? 

In the end, though, you can only keep their memories. 

The collector of tangible items may feel vindicated that he is creating something of value to be handed down to his next generation. However, his descendants’ memories are likely to be based more around the material possessions he left behind than of the person himself.

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