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These didn't come from a card show, try to enjoy

One thing I'll never understand about card blogging is that when you write about paying money for cards at a card show, it always draws reaction, but if you write about getting cards for free from a fellow collector, few people bother to read.

I don't get it. These are free cards everybody! FREE. They fit into my collection -- just like any card I'd buy from a card show -- except they cost me nothing. No nickel boxes, no dime boxes because there were no nickels or dimes expended. They were FREE. Doesn't that blow anyone's mind anymore? Are we so immune to getting free cards that it's worth at most a shrug?

Maybe it's the story part of it. When I go to a card show, I try to tell a story about what went on when I was at the show. I don't just show cards, because I can do that on any post. A card show is an EVENT. It needs to be documented thoroughly. So, yeah, I'm having a real good time at a card show and I try to convey that in my recounting. Maybe that's the reason for more reaction.

So maybe it's my fault. Maybe I'm not promoting these free cards that I get in the mail well enough. Maybe it's all in the delivery and readers sense that. Maybe I need to show the enthusiasm and effort, not the reader. Maybe I need to do a better job telling the story.

OK, so let's try that.

Last week was pretty crappy. I've been overloaded with work for just about all of 2015, but the last three months have been a joke. Something's going to have to change because I can't keep working like this and neither can the people around me. But for right now, the only casualties have been my mood, my ability to keep up with anything that is not work, and my attention given to other people's blogs. Plus, my attitude hasn't been the greatest, and I know it's come through on this blog.

I don't have a lot to say in real life, because what can I say? "I worked again. It sucked." The house seems like it's falling down. Almost every day I add something else to the list of things that need to be fixed, but the list never gets smaller because there's no time and no money. The other day, while pulling out to go to work, I saw that a railing on the fence that lines our property had come apart, like someone had sat on it and it crumpled. Of course, I wasn't around to know what happened because ... shocker ... I was at work, but there's something else I'll never get around to doing.

I'm generally a hopeful person. It will get easier. You know how teachers are always talking about summer vacation and just a few weeks longer? Well, I can relate to that a little, because when school is out, school sports stop and, holy hell, what is that? Oh yeah, it's me breathing again. Wow, exhaling feels good.

But for now, that's all there is: hope. The knowledge that I have a family, my health, a dog who at least attempts to be good, and hope. (Oh, yeah, and a job and a house, but I'm mad at them right now).

Now ... into that bit of drudgery and frustration, dropped a card package.

I went to the mailbox, and there was a golden envelope from a guy named David. He's from Texas (there sure are a lot of card collectors living in Texas). And he's a fan of vintage cards, the Dodgers and the Angels. I know that because he wrote me a little note.

That's pretty cool. Someone took the time to write five paragraphs about what they collect and how they enjoy my blog. Do you get that kind of interaction from a dealer across the table trying to sell you cards? I don't. These are collectors, not sellers, communicating, through the mail.

Items like this have been showing up in my mailbox for almost seven years. I once never gave my mailbox a thought during the day. Whatever was in it could have sat there until 9 p.m. before I remembered to get it. That never happens anymore. I'm usually pulling the door open the second the mailman walks down the steps. Or, in the middle of doing something else after lunch, suddenly a happy tune jumps into my head: "♪ gotta check the mail! ♪"

Do you know how welcome this is given the rest of what daily life has offered lately?

David sent a handsome stack of parallels. Only the card you saw at the top of the post was not a parallel.


Gold parallels from 2004. All three of these cards have ties to the Braves. Moving on.

Gold parallel from 2005. These two players, and therefore this card, used to be a big deal. Still a big deal to me. The card anyway.

Gold parallel from 2010. I should find out how Kurorda is doing in Japan.

Gold parallel from 2011.

Red and rain-forest parallels from 2013. Please stay a few more years, Zack.

Dave knows my weakness. I'll never be able to quit colored parallels.

Plus, a gold signature parallel from 1994.

I consider this a parallel, although it showed up like three years after the original card.

OK, not a card, but I'm treating it like one.

Billy Ashley is getting coveted real estate on this item although it's screaming "Mike Piazza".

OK, there's Mike. Big guys are always hogging all the space.

This is very cool stuff. And it showed up for free. From a similar-minded collector. Who spent his own time to mention how much he enjoys my blog. The cards are his way of saying thanks.

That makes these cards supremely better than a card I could have bought, especially to someone as broke as I am. They are just as good as anything I obtained at a card show. And the gesture here is much more heart-warming than "I'll give you cards if you give me money."

Sure, a card show is an awesome adventure for the collector. But this right here, this is the beauty of card blogging.

And we repeat that wonderful ritual over and over here on the card blogs, so much so that we are not fazed by it anymore.

These cards here are "nice pickups!", too, and with a story behind them, as well. No, I didn't pick them out, but they all fit perfectly in my collection. Instead of digging through a discount box or binder, they showed up directly at my home, in the midst of all of life's difficulties, and I didn't have to pay for gas, endure traffic or fight for parking.

A card package in the mail seems much more fantastic when it's put that way. But I guess we're immune.


You are absolutely right. Someone who knows you ONLY through the blog, took the time to sort through some stuff he has, package it up, mail it halfway across the country, and brighten your day. That is pretty damn awesome and just as cooler, than sorting through a dime box. Ok, I say dime box because I've NEVER EVER seen one. Still, damn cool. And he's from my neck of the woods!! Just hope he's not underwater.
Zippy Zappy said…
Kuroda's return to Japan has not gone smoothly. He suffered an inflamed right foot kept him out of action a little, his team isn't very good (big shock), and he actually yelled at a pitcher when he was up at the plate and the pitcher aimed for his chest (twice). He almost charged the mound too.

But he did receive the most fan votes for the All Star Game.
Zippy Zappy said…
Okay scratch that, the pitcher didn't aim at Hirok (his control issues are infamous apparently). Still, Hirok actually yelled and expressed anger.
arpsmith said…
Free cards rule!
Jeff Jones said…
completely forgot about Crime Dog as a Dodger, I need to find some of those rain forest parallels they look great.
I totally caught that Braves connection on those first gold parallels before I read your comment right below. Cool. I need to put a care package together for you, drop me ur addy.
Billy Kingsley said…
Those green parallels are incredible.
carlsonjok said…
Heh. A couple years ago I drove up to Kansas City to see the Yankees play the Royals. Kuroda was the starting pitcher and got into a shouting match with umpire Laz Diaz (one of the worst AL umpires, if you ask me.)
carlsonjok said…
I am not a psychologist, but I play one on the internet. I surmise it is our hunter-gatherer instincts that cause us to comment more on card show posts than trade posts. We need to congratulate Og for killing that wooly mammoth. Just consider yourself as more evolved than the rest of us card bloggers.
Oh, it's a mini-poster. I was thinking, "Hey - that's not Mike Piazza."
Tony L. said…
Perhaps we should start titling our posts as "The Card Show known as Night Owl" or "The Card Show in my Mailbox, Part 84" or something. Trick people into reading or something.
David said…
I've only been a NOC blog reader for about six months but I find that not only do I enjoy it, Night Owl helps me to enjoy card collecting in new ways. That is not easy to do and the cards I sent are just a small token of my appreciation.

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