I’m not a hater, just the opposite….
I’m a believer that life has a path, and your experiences and lessons on one bend prepare you for the next section along.
A few years ago I was deep into collecting vintage kitchenware. Pyrex glassware predominantly but also pottery and china patterns. I learnt two lessons.
- Addiction to hobbies is as real as drug, alcohol or gaming. And when you’re inside the addiction you can self bargain and justify any new purchase
- Collecting is more fun than holding the collection
When I was a teenager in the 90’s, there was an office supply store in my small hometown. I would go in to buy ribbons for my electric typewriter (!! This thing was the bomb, it had a two line preview screen- it was basically a computer…)
Probably just my personality, but I always felt like an interloper in this shop. This was a shop full of grown up things, business things. I wonder if teens these days feel that inferiority?
There was a glass case of pens. I never lingered to look- as if I couldn’t afford to look- knowing they were always going to be beyond my reach on my Pizza Hut wage.
But I remember the store signage, the posters, proclaiming that the case held Pelikan. That bird logo.
In my mind, from then till now, Pelikan has been the Apex pen.
These days a Pelikan is within my reach. And I’m also aware that there are hundreds of pens out there worth thousands and thousands more than a standard Pelikan.
But I’m going to hold tight to Pelikan as my apex pen, and refuse to ever own one.
Let’s go back to the Pyrex.
Having an acquisition hobby can be great fun. You have something to focus on- researching, hunting deals, evaluating, beating the competition to a one off bargain or sell out.
You form communities of like minded geeks who share the passion, the language. You enable each other, and generate frenzies.
All of those things, for me, are more enjoyable than the object itself.
Because I had a deadly combo of means, no kids, and no other competitors for my time or money, I quickly acquired almost all the Pyrex there was. I was an expert in the Australian community.
But it got to the point that purchases would arrive and the boxes sat unopened in a corner of the house, because there was no thrill. I had done it. I’d got to the top.
Here’s the thing: The top is empty
My experience was backed up by some study into Buddhist principles a year or so later, and it became crystal clear to me. The things I aspire for will bring me suffering.
Sounds much worse than it is. What it means is that emptiness, of reaching the top and having no where to go, and losing the parts of the path that you enjoyed like the hunt because there was nothing left to hunt for. That these are the inevitable conclusions to placing your happiness onto the path of physical objects and acquisitions. I get it. I don’t deny it, but I seek to manipulate it by extending that happy path for as long as possible.
I’ve seen it in others too. Ever escalating price tags and purchases of rarer vintage, or limited pens – because that’s what’s required to keep engaging in the hobby. To deny reaching the apex.
So, because I love pens and the hobby around it
I will deny my apex
because I respect the longing, admiration, and generally grailiness bestowed by my teenage self
I will never “achieve” the Pelikan. It shall forever be god like to me.
And, because I hope the keep my investment in this hobby in check
I set my apex at a level of ~$1k per pen. Which means I shouldn’t be tempted by non Pelikan offerings beyond this.
Well- that’s the theory…