Sunday, May 27, 2012

Jesus by the numbers

Lord help me, I'm addicted. I'm a collector.

I'm not rich. I'm a collector on a budget. Friday Sally and I visited a couple of thrift stores and I walked away with an armload of used paperback books, average cost about 75¢ per book. I don't need 'em, don't always even want 'em, but when I see books with these kinds of covers I must have 'em. The collector sickness comes out in me, and I feel the familiar tug of the compulsion, that damned addiction.


I like horror stories. I like ghost stories. I like anthologies. For some reason I can't get enough copies of W. W. Jacobs' classic, "The Monkey's Paw." Here's yet another book containing that story. How many copies of that story do I now have? Who cares? I'm a collector, not a counter.

I love English paperbacks when I can find them. I've never been able to actually read a book by Edgar Wallace, a popular author of the 1920s (he died in 1932), but I had to have this Pan Book from the UK. What a fantastic cover:

But books aren't always enough. I must also have funky things that move me. For instance, incredibly tacky paint-by-number artwork, like this 16" x 20" Jesus. Sally and I found this in a consignment shop yesterday and I walked around the store thinking about it before making myself the owner. I knew if I didn't get it I'd be kicking myself all night. Compulsion won out.

I'm not religious, but crappy pictures of Jesus make me a hallelujah-shouter. What can I say about paint-by-numbers except god bless the wannabe artists who sit down at those numbered canvases and make their own art with little paintpots and cheap brushes. Older paint-by-numbers are sought after collectibles, like black velvet paintings. They are crass, kitsch, and they are wonderful.

Here's a brief history of paint-by-number: American History "Every Man a Rembrandt"

The collecting addiction is hard to get over, but then, I've never really tried. I just feed the addiction by acquisition. To continue with my addictive behavior I have to make room for all of these items. I've felt many times I couldn't squeeze one more thing into our small suburban tract home, but I always do.

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