Community Magazine

All About My Stamp Collection (AKA My Retirement Fund)

By Friday23

I could use a loan at this moment. Collecting stamps was the rage all those years ago. There were articles in the newspapers and every city had stamp dealers. Most of the collectors did it for the hobby while others thought about future values.

40 years later I’m sitting with a cupboard full of stamp albums. Stamp collecting went out of fashion when countries began issuing huge quantities of stamps. The hobby also faded against the competition of electronic games and computers.

I too moved on in the computer age, but my stamp collection occupied valuable space in the cupboards in my study. I knew it was there within easy reach any time I got the urge to pull out the magnifying glass and check the little pieces of paper for a misprint that would make it worth millions. The years passed and every time I saw my wife eyeing the stamp cupboard while in search of extra storage space, I would quickly explain that inside the cupboard was not a stamp collection, but our retirement fund. It was a comforting thought.

The weather last summer was brutal. It’s all part of global warming, I understand, but the humidity went through the roof. I suddenly thought of all those mint stamps with the original glue on the back and how the humidity might be affecting them. I decided to hermetically seal the stamp cupboard and I called in a carpenter for a quotation. The price was horrendous. My wife yelled about the summer cocktail outfit that I had nixed the week before. “Our retirement fund, remember,” I explained and took a small loan to settle the carpenter.

With possible humidity damage to my valuable stamp collection safely behind me, I went back to writing the great American novel. I was on page 323 and all was going according to plan. There were a few anxious moments like when the sub-prime mortgage scandal surfaced. I read the papers, shuddered, cast a glance at my hermetically sealed retirement fund and started a new chapter, always a milestone event. I reckoned I was halfway through the story and that the second half would be a breeze.

One day there was a twitch on the stock exchange where the other half of my retirement fund was living in secure comfort. I groaned, sent a few choice four-letter words in the direction of the stock exchange and lovingly stroked the stamp cupboard. We don’t need that old stock exchange, do we? I whispered. Cupboard remained silent but I took it that he agreed. I continued with chapter 59.

At the Simpsons the other evening I was introduced to Phil, a well-known philatelist. I settled back to let him bring me up to date on the stamp market and my collection, aka my retirement fund. It didn’t take long. “It’s all gone down the drain. Very few stamps have any value. The whole market just collapsed,” he explained angrily. I guess he had a retirement fund as well.

I grabbed my wife and we raced home. Between us we typed the final chapter of the novel, leaving out the last 200 pages. I need an editor urgently and I need a loan to pay the editor. I want this book, aka my retirement fund, in the bookstores by Christmas.

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