On the latest episode of Coffee With Kenobi, Dan and I spent some time discussing what would happen to our collections after we have shuffled off this mortal coil. It’s something that I’ve thought about from time to time, but never really formulated a plan of attack before. I realize it might seem like a morbid train of thought, but bear with me.
Thinking about what happens when I’m gone is as natural to me as breathing. Since my parents were older when I was born, that meant that I started learning to deal with death at a younger age than most people. By the time I was 23, I had already said goodbye to my father as well as the only set of grandparents that were still alive when I was born. That was followed by my mother less than a decade later. I don’t write all of this to elicit sympathy or to bum anybody out, it’s just my way of explaining that death is not a topic that upsets me. I just see it as a part of the human experience, and it really is the great equalizer, since it’s something we ALL experience. Which brings me to the topic of this month’s entry: What happens to my collection when I’m gone?
I don’t currently have any children. I don’t plan to sire any children of my own. It’s possible I will end up with stepkids someday and, if that happens, I will love them as if they were my own. Point being, I don’t currently have a plan of succession for the McGee Collecting Empire. If something happened to me tomorrow, my poor brother would have a bunch of plastic to wade through and distribute, with no real idea about how I would prefer it to be done. Ideally, I’ll live to a ripe old age and be hilariously senile near the end. My legacy will most likely not be children living on beyond me. It will probably be the memories I leave behind. I am working my hardest to make sure those memories are pleasant ones, memories that will make people smile, maybe even laugh. Hopefully my podcasts will be around for a while, entertaining people as they trudge through their workday or their daily commute. I would be very satisfied with that outcome.
But….the TOYS. Not just the toys, the Dixie Cups, cereal boxes, toothbrushes, and various other items I have procured through the years. What about those? I know none of my people would stoop to fighting over anything, especially since there’s nothing of great monetary value, but it would be nice to know that they all went to good homes where they would be appreciated. I’ve already started that particular mission. My bff and Talking Toys co-host, Taylor (who’s work can be found at www.TaylorLymbery.com) just had a child (technically his wife Rachel had the kid, but you know what I mean), and Taylor wants to get him at least an Original 12 collection of the Star Wars Kenner figures. I’ve already bestowed upon him a vintage Walrus Man (anyone who’s heard my story about my mom helping me complete my collection will know the meaning behind that), and I have decided that as he ages, for each birthday and Christmas, Baby Lymbery will get another piece from my collection to add to his collection. I’ve already set him up with a red Snaggletooth, the next phase will be filling out the original 12. Whether or not the kid appreciates being given “used” toys remains to be seen, but if he’s anything like his parents, he will love them even more than if they were new. And hopefully he’ll like them because his uncle Jeff is just sooooo cool. Hey, a guy can dream, right?
I realize that at 38 years old I may seem a bit young to already be dividing up my estate, but follow my logic here: Most of these items are not on display at the same time. The ones that ARE on display are just that, on-display. They sit on a shelf and bring smiles to my face each time I pass them. I love the idea of someone else having the same pleasure, especially if part of the reason for the smile is that the item came from a dear friend.
So, I’ve made a decision. As I continue collecting things that catch my eye or carry meaning, I will also be un-collecting a few things. I can’t come up with a better term for “passing on a collectible to a fellow collector/fan” so if anyone has a suggestion, send it my way. This will serve a dual purpose: It will give ME the satisfaction of doing something nice for people who I care about, and it will give the receiver a nice surprise that will hopefully be a welcome addition to their collection. Actually, it will serve THREE purposes, because it will also be a terrific way to keep my collection at a manageable size.
Obviously this plan does have its drawbacks, as I will never actually own every single toy released by Kenner in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but I think that was a longshot to begin with. That’s why I began the project by giving away one of my vintage Star Wars action figures. It’s always been a point of pride for me that I own every single action figure that Kenner released in the vintage line. I almost put that on a business card once. Seriously. I wish I was joking about that, but I’m not. But by giving away my red Snaggletooth, I ripped that bandage off right away, and now I won’t be as reluctant to continue the “McGee Memorial Purge” or whatever I end up calling it. I’m also easing into it, since I can visit my red Snaggletooth any time I want.
The only real negative of this decision is that I will now have to remember what I do and don’t currently have in my collection. But that’s ok, my memories of the toys are more important than my possession of them, anyway. And I know that Little Lymbery will have fun with the figures, and chances are I’ll get to play with them again right along with him, which makes me even more excited than having them myself. I’ll get to build even more memories, and those are my favorite collectibles.
So I’ve made the decision, and I feel great about it. Let the giving begin! My constant boast of “I own every single original Kenner figure” is no longer accurate. And I couldn’t be happier.
What do you think of this plan? And what are your thoughts on how you would like your own collection to be parsed out when the time comes? Share in the comments section, I can’t wait to read!
Until next time, May The Force Be With Us All!
Jeff can be heard weekly on Assembly of Geeks (www.assemblyofgeeks.com) and on his own podcast network, MarvinDog Media (www.MarvinDogMedia.com) where he hostsThe Pilot Episode, Talking Toys with Taylor and Jeff, and Bantha Banter: A Star Wars Chat Show. He is also co-host of Comics With Kenobi with fellow CWK blogger Matt Moore, and part-time co-host for Coffee With Kenobi, which you have already found if you’re reading this blog.