Last week I pulled from the mailbox my third or fourth package in the last couple of months from Cards on Cards (sorry about the spill, dude). The pace he's on is crazy. Here I am trying to keep from slipping more than a month behind, and madding's firing off cards and -- just as amazingly -- finding cards that I NEED at about the same rate that I go grocery shopping.
I'm baffled at how he does it, but happy that he does.
The cards this time, as they always are, were directly from my want list. I think madding's been finding '90s goodies at some card shows lately, so he's been passing those never-before-seen items on to me.
So, of course, there were ...
and Nomos ...
... and other assorted '90s items (not all shown here).
But what really caught my eye ... or, shall I say, caught my nose, were some 1979 Topps needs.
Here's the very first card in the set.
And here's the rookie card of a player we were absolutely fascinated by in 1978.
And here's ... uh ... here's ... oh, my god, what is that smell?
I took a whiff again of the stench emanating from McCarver's card. It was unmistakable. But it took me a minute to place it. That smell? What IS that?
And then I realized what it was.
The cards smelled like shoes!
I thought to myself, "I don't know if I like that." Shoes are all right and all, but the smell of new feet on my cards, oh I don't know.
And then my brain made the connection and told me to stop my ungrateful rabble.
"Idiot!" it said. "Don't you know what that is? It's the smell of somebody caring for their baseball cards!"
"Think back to 1979. You collected then. How did you store your baseball cards?"
I thought about it for a second and I remembered that I stored my cards in shoeboxes. Of course!
"That's right," my brain continued. "And do you think your cards smelled like lilacs sitting in those Endicott & Johnson boxes all that time? No! They smelled like your fresh-out-of-the-box SHOES."
Wow. It all made sense to me now.
A shoebox. That's all it was. I inhaled deeply:
Ahhhhhhhhh! That was the smell of storing your collection, late '70s style!
That was before binders. Before 800-count baseball card boxes. Before top loaders and penny sleeves and screw-downs.
Back then, there were shoeboxes and rubber bands.
I used both. And I thought they were the greatest storage devices ever created. They were neat, tidy, and out of the way of a rampaging mother who thought your room had to be immaculate even though you were the only one who ever went in it.
That was the smell of proper storage. The stink of collectibility. Cardboard and leather insoles. They go together like August and ragweed.
So hail to the shoeboxers and drink in that smell!