“Collector” vs “Enthusiast”


It all started with a brand-new copy of Black Sabbath’s “Born Again” album. Original copy from 1983. Twenty-eight years old. Sealed. Right there in my hands. Which had begun to tremble.

While I’ve always told other members of the Black Wax Reviews team that I’m not a ‘collector’, suddenly I was faced with a dilemma. Suddenly, as I raised my right hand to the edge of the LP to rip off the shrink wrap so I could drop the needle on the wax, I was hit by the enormity of the situation… the moment I tear off this shrink wrap, the value plummets… just like driving a new car off the dealer’s lot…

I reminded myself that I’m not a collector. But I found myself hesitating. I contacted a team member to get a second opinion. His advice didn’t surprise me. “You’re always saying you buy albums to play, not to collect. Open it up and play that thing!”

I knew he was right. Yet still I couldn’t do it. Nothing wrong with waiting a few minutes more.

Unwrapping the other treasure that had arrived that day, I threw on a used (new to me), original copy of  KISS’ “Music From The Elder” and cranked it up. Meanwhile, in the back of my mind, the arguments continued to play out. If I hold on to this original, sealed Born Again for another 20 years… who KNOWS how much it would be worth! But if I do, I’ll have to buy another copy for actually playing and enjoying…

After Gene’s little epilogue and the closing notes of the symphony, I realized that all of my logic twisting and arguments with myself had led me right back to where I’d started.

I glanced at my LPs stacked on the bookcase to my right… the rag-tag collection of new, used, and highly worn albums. Some 180 gram vinyl… some garage sale discoveries… some giveaways from friends… some rescues from the trash. If I start collecting NOW, it’s going to take me forever to build up a collection I can be proud of… and it’s going to cost me a small fortune. I’ll have to upgrade from my current turntable and speakers… get a new receiver…

I sliced open the plastic wrap and tore it off of the cover of Born Again, going to great lengths to crumple up the cellophane and throw it on the table nearby. I carefully slid the vinyl from the inner sleeve, interrupting my wife’s cooking to remind her what virgin vinyl from the 80’s looked like.

Then I dropped the needle on the wax.

Best decision I’ve ever made. And I’ve never looked back.

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