Friday, November 15, 2013
When the world is running down ...
I'm assuming this happens to everyone, but there are songs running through my head constantly. Often times I'll wake up with a song in my head and have no idea how it got there.
Some songs pop into my head more than others and often it's so random and so familiar that I don't realize it's going through my head until hours or maybe even a day or two after it first appeared.
One of the songs that makes a repeated appearance is the old Police song, "When the World Is Running Down You Make the Best of What's Still Around."
The song is from their 1980 album Zenyatta Mondatta, the one with "Don't Stand So Close To Me" and "De Do Do Do De Da Da Da." My brother had the cassette and I was familiar with all the songs on the album in no time.
"When the World Is Running Down" is natural head music because its repetitive chord progression is so catchy (it's been called "hypnotic"). But I also find myself humming it a lot because of its theme. The song is about some guy living in a post-apocalyptic world with all of his material items still intact.
I don't know anything about that existence. But I do know about surviving with what you have when times are tough, or finding the good things in life when things are going bad. In short, you've got to make the best of what's still around.
I'd like to think that many people think like this, but I'm afraid they don't. There's an awful lot of "the sky is FALLING!" going on (especially on the twitters). You have to put the best face on a situation during a crisis (or an artificial crisis). If you don't, you're either going to implode or become a bitter old fart (or fartess) and no one is going to want to be around you. Find your happy place before everyone deserts you.
The same applies to the card world. We all know that there are a lot of problems with modern cards. Short prints, parallel obsessions, artificial scarcity, added value, fakaries, limited licensing, inflated prices, blah, blah, blah.
Some people choose to focus on everything that's wrong and either point it out constantly, divorce themselves from modern cards, or give up the hobby entirely.
I choose to make the best of what's still around.
For example, Judson from My Cardboard Habit sent me a few Dodger Chrome cards a little while ago.
These are both refractors. But Ryu is shinier because he had a shinier season.
Now there are two ways I can go here.
I can point out how the Ryu card has the same photo that's in the base set and why am I collecting to cards of the same picture? I can point out it's a pointless parallel of the chrome base card of Ryu. I can talk about how there's too many sets issued at the same time. And it's all true. I have pointed out flaws many times and sometimes you have to do that.
But don't forget, you can still make the best of what's still around.
I like these cards because they're shiny, they get me closer to having all the Dodgers in this set and because new cards make me happy. Sometimes it's good not to think any deeper than that.
Here is one of those super shiny inserts. Inserts can be a curse. I get that. They're preventing people from completing sets more easily because they often replace a base card in the pack. I get that, too.
But when the world is running down ...
IT'S SHINY! IT'S THE GLORIOUS PSYCHEDELIC TOMBSTONE DESIGN! ME LIKEY!!!!
... you make the best of what's still around.
Now here is a card I could enjoy even as the scenery melted around me. There could be fires going off in every direction and I could still find something to smile about if I had this card in my hand.
These Dynamic Skill diecuts have a bullet-esque quality to them. They remind me of that Freak On A Leash video from the '90s. That's pretty cool.
Also, this "make the best of things" outlook works for older cards.
I received just a few cards from Bert at Swing and a Pop-Up a little while ago, too. They were all from the same set. That set was 1982 Fleer.
I can hear the groans already.
Yup, '82 Fleer has lots of issues, documented many times on this blog, but I still like it. Flaws and all.
I'm not going to discard or ignore '82 Fleer because it's imperfect. I like it because it's imperfect. 1982 Fleer operates in a rundown world. You make the best of it.
So, I could complain about all the dull portrait shots in the set.
Or the distant, somewhat-out-of-focus photos.
Or the miscut cards.
But I ask you ...
... do I want to go without having this card in my collection?
There are actually some phenomenal cards in 1982 Fleer. It's a set that's rundown and been run down but it's still around and I'd rather make the best of it.
The card sets we collect will never be perfect. Neither will the hobby. You've got to find what you like in it when the hobby is running down.
That'll be in my head all weekend.