Sometimes -- when I'm feeling particularly perky, or when I simply can't wait to see what's in the damn pack -- I give the pack of baseball cards that I just bought to my daughter, so she can open them while I'm driving.
Allen & Ginter is great for this. The card set is the best conversation starter in the history of card sets. If I gave her a pack that featured nothing but baseball players, she'd leaf through the whole thing without a peep.
So that's what I did on the drive home tonight. We made a very brief trip to Target. My daughter grabbed a couple of packs of Twilight cards. Or maybe they're Eclipse cards. I don't know. I just know they're cards of people who have a real need for melatonin supplements. Other than that, the whole topic makes me want to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
But the movies are raking in millions, so what do I know?
I bought two rack packs of A&G -- my first rack packs of the set this year. And we were off. She started opening her vampire packs and proceeded to ooh and aah with my wife over the pasty-faced undead.
Meanwhile, I was stuck driving while the packs of A&G called to me. To get my mind off idiots who refuse to use turn signals and who make left turns from THE RIGHT LANE, I flipped a rack pack back to my daughter and told her to open it.
"Let me know what's in there," I said. "And if it's a mini card or anything that doesn't look like a regular card, I need to know that, too."
She has opened A&G before, so she was interested in the challenge.
Here is what she found:
Her: OK, this is Topps Allen & Ginter. Value Pack.
(She opened this pack with remarkable ease. In fact, it was so quick that my underlying thought as she read all the names was "how did she open it so fast? I need a minute and a pair of scissors and the thing is in shreds.")
Her: Dunvy, Donavy, Donovan. It's a girl.
Me: Oh, Donovan. She's a women's basketball coach. A real famous coach.
(I'm full of information, aren't I? But, hey, my daughter doesn't care).
Her: Poser. Posey?
Me: (momentarily interested that it's Buster Posey) Posey?
Her: No, Poser.
Me: (dismissive) Oh, it's some computer guy.
(Actually, it's some domino-stacking guy. You can tell I'm thrilled. These are my least favorite cards in the set. Love the writers, singers, scientists, historical figures, quirky photos of places and inventions, etc. But domino-stacking? I can't help but think what else he could be doing. ... like blogging.)
Her: Brees. He's holding a little kid.
Me: Drew Brees! Awesome. He won the Super Bowl last year. I wanted that card.
My wife: Aren't there any baseball players in there?
Me: (defensive) This is Allen & Ginter!
Me: There's a baseball player.
(I was relieved I was with two people who wouldn't ask me to expand upon that. Because I know nothing else about him).
Her: Beltray, Beltran.
Me: Right. Beltran.
My wife: Carlos Beltran?
(I have filled my wife's brain with piles of useless baseball information merely by tuning into baseball games over the years. She rarely actively watches a game, yet knows a number of players' names).
Her: Pinero. He's with the Angels.
Me: Oh, Piniero. Yeah.
(No other words, because up until that very moment, I thought Piniero was still a Cardinal. And I'm sure part of me thought he was still a Mariner).
Her: Should I open the bottom part?
Me: (Filled with curiosity) Yes!
Her: OK, why is there a picture of a revolving door?
Me: The revolving door!! Cool! That's great. That's a great card.
Her: Why? It's a door?
Me: I know. They put cards of great inventions in the set. I love that card.
My wife: Are you being serious?
Me: Yes. It's so goofy, it's great!
(I am feeling totally misunderstood at this particular point).
Her: OK, this one is sideways. Howp.
Me: (completely bored) Oh yeah. Hawpe.
(It seems A&G has gone out of its way this year to select the dullest baseball players -- excluding people like Jeter and Ortiz -- to emphasize the non-baseball cards).
Me: Yup, Garland.
(I didn't know at the time that this was a short-print. Otherwise, I would have yelped "short-print!" and then been forced to explain what a "short-print" was and why there was "short-printing," and probably veer off into the business ethics of short-printing, and we'd end up sitting in the driveway at our house for hours unable to get out of the car because I had worked myself into a diatribe over the modern card company business model. ... Yes, ignorance is being able to walk into the house).
Me: OK, Stubbs. Drew Stubbs.
(I draw all of my knowledge of players like Drew Stubbs from baseball cards. I need to watch the MLB Network a little more regularly).
Her: OK, this is a small one. A mini. DeRosa.
Me: Great! Well, it's a Giant, so that's not great.
(I look in the rearview mirror because she's holding it up).
Me: Does that have a black border on it?
Me: That's even better!
Her: Awww. You get all the cool cards. I didn't get any cool cards (in her packs).
Me: You've got to collect Allen & Ginter.
Her: This one has a guy holding a newspaper. It says "this day in history." And there's a guy, Rees. Race.
Me: Right. Reyes. They're cards with a player's birthdate and then they tell you what happened on that date. They're cool.
Her: That's it.
Me: Great. That's a good pack. I didn't get any doubles.
(Actually, the Reyes card is a double. I pulled it in my hobby box).
Later in the ride, she returned to her Twilight cards, talking about how she didn't get this card or that card -- Jasper or something. But she lamented that she had no problems pulling doubles of cards she didn't want.
Ah, I knew the discussion well.
Hey, it wasn't baseball, but I was proud she was into some kind of cards and could discuss them on a level that collectors all over the world understand.
"That's collecting," I said.
(P.S.: My wife just asked to see the revolving door card).