I am not poor or disadvantaged. But watching how I spend my money has been a necessity most of my adult life. I work in a business with an average salary that would make a teacher snicker. Counting dollars is a way of life.
So for decades I have carried that mind-set. Can I spend money on this? Can I spend money on that? Can I spend money now? No, not this time, I have to wait, wait until a different time of the month, wait until that bill is paid, wait until the car is fixed.
Year after year after year I've done that, the budget always hovering over my head constantly, a presence, always there. Some would call it a struggle. But I've always been a nose-to-the-grindstone person. Just get done what you must to get it done. Go without if necessary. The name of the game is to live. We'll get to that other stuff if we can.
I've sacrificed without calling it sacrificing. Scrimped without knowing I was doing it. Declined with barely a pang of sorrow or guilt. It's just the way it is in a middle class life.
If you're lucky, as you get older, the budget crunch loosens ever so slightly, and it has for me. I'm not buying jets or flying all over the world, but it's nice to have a few extra dollars without worrying that it should go toward something more important/boring.
But still, the mind-set I've owned ever since I ventured out on my own remains. I hold on to money. I dismiss opportunities to purchase certain cards because spending wouldn't be "wise." I'm stuck in the frugality that has worked so well for me and my family.
Recently, I've begun to break out of that. Just a little.
I've basically asked myself "what am I waiting for?" There's a little extra cash now. Use it before you lose it. Who knows when the next ailment/accident/requirement is coming?
And I've started calling the cards that I'm now obtaining "what are you waiting for" cards.
Meet my latest "what are you waiting for" card. It arrived today.
I have pined for this 1962 Bell Brand Willie Davis card for some time. Not for ages, simply because I don't think I was aware of the card until two or three years ago. But it's been a dream card.
Ever since I first stumbled across it, I have been amazed.
It was a card so special that I actually created a copy of an image I saw online and stored it in my scans, just so I wouldn't forget about it. It would always be there like a distant goal.
There it is in my folder of scans. I get to delete that image now!
The Bell Brand Dodgers -- and I'll say this again, the most marvelous cards to ever come out of a potato chip bag -- have always been beautiful. But I like the '62 set in particular because of the interesting camera perspective, the distant trees in the background.
The Davis card is more beautiful than the rest, as it shows the collector a young Davis in the midst of a drag bunt. I don't know how this was actually captured. Did they glue the ball onto Davis' bat, a la the 1952 Topps Gus Zernial card?
But this is a question I can ponder while I hold this card in my hand because it's now mine.
That is the back of the card, although I'm suddenly aware that I oriented it incorrectly.
There you go. Underline that June 30th date against the Mets. That's the day Sandy Koufax records his first career no-hitter.
I will never have enough money to own even a third of the cards that I want. But I've made my peace with that, as well as the ownership of many other material goods, a long, long time ago.
But I will continue to scope out "what are you waiting for" cards, and, when I can, finally pull the trigger on them.
Because like my grandmother used to say, "when it's gone, it's gone."