Friday, April 20, 2012

No. 776 – Come Undone

Performer: Duran Duran
Songwriters: Warren Cuccurullo, Nick Rhodes, Simon LeBon, John Taylor
Original Release: Duran Duran
Year: 1993
Definitive Version: None

OK, I know that I should have a Yes song on 4-20, but Duran Duran (D-squared to my sister) will have to suffice for any burners out there.

Sometime in 1993—when this song was all over MTV and even Beavis and Butthead WEREN’T making fun of it—I embarked on my major baseball-card-collecting goal that continues to this day.

I had collected full sets since 1975 and had partial sets more or less going back to 1966. I suppose I always had some nebulous goal, like most collectors, that I’d collect everything back to the start of the modern era, which began with the birth of Topps in 1951. But given the absurdly high prices of pretty much everything from 1952 alone, that would be an impossible dream.

However, going back to 1957, when card sizes were standardized to the size that exists today seemingly was attainable. Only a few cards carried a book value of $1,000. It could be done at relatively low cost with a bit of patience and luck. What the heck: I’m not 29 yet; I have time.

And if I were going to collect all the Topps sets that fit neatly and uniformly nine to a side, 18 to a plastic sheet into a notebook, it made sense to actually put those cards into plastic sheets and notebooks to display them, right? So that’s what I set out to do. Every card show for a while, I bought boxes of plastic sheets and started going to Staples to buy notebooks to embark on this gigantic project.

I decided to start with the complete sets. But with the 1973 set, which I had recently completed on my own, I saw that I had a few cards from when I was a kid that weren’t display-worthy. With 1974, another recently completed set, I had even more. Now, I was no mintnik, but I did want decent cards—cards that didn’t have any writing on the front, any tape or thumbtack holes or any cards that were cut so badly that part of the next card on the printer sheet was on it.

The result was that I was going to have to perform some serious upgrading—more on some sets than others (the 1977 was particularly bad in terms of miscuts)—and my want list grew from a hand-written page to a computerized printout. And while we’re at it, if we’re going to do it right, I might as well add the wrappers for each year, too, so that was something else that I had to note and begin hunting for.

So when I had some time, which was often, I’d get out another box and put another set into the books. But I had no room in my one-room apartment for the notebooks, so they ended up under the coffee table in my living area. Now, you couldn’t stretch your legs any more when you sat on the couch

Hey, why not? It’s not as though I had people beating down my door to hang out and watch videos on my 15-inch big screen.

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