It’s natural for every generation to think that the generation prior to them is clueless. They think they discovered everything from sex to music and that parents have gone through life perpetually befuddled. What they don’t know is that we invented cool; they’re just imitating it.
And as the saying goes, everything old is new again – and likely worth a whole lot of money. If you don’t believe that, you haven’t noticed shows like PBS’s “Antiques Road Show” or “American Picker.” People are discovering treasures in their attics that they’d considered junk.
Growing up, if furniture wasn’t made within the last 30 years, it was considered old. Now they call it antiques. And people pay a lot of money for it. I’ve got an old desk that I paid about $100 for years ago, but you can have it for a buck. Feel free to call it whatever you like; I call it junk out of my attic.
Records became tapes, then turned into CDs. Vinyl albums became extinct but now, are highly prized and sought after. Of course, groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones’ original albums or limited run singles are worth thousands of dollars. But did you know that the Sex Pistols’ song, “God Save the Queen” has been named as the top most collectible single of all time by Record Collector Magazine?
Surprisingly, another group called the Dead Kennedys’ albums are hot commodities. When I read that, I went down to the basement and began sorting through my old albums. Unfortunately, I was a child of 80s pop music, and most of my albums are Pat Benatar and Def Leppard. The only thing dead in the box was a mouse. So much for finding hidden treasure.
Still, each generation tries to be different. In my generation, designer jeans were all the rage. Many of my friends forked over stupid sums of money to get their hands on the hottest designer pair. Of course, this was to showcase their individuality; which made me laugh. In their zeal to be different, they were exactly alike.
I happened to march to a different drummer and saw the situation much differently. I shunned spending tons of money so I could walk around with some designer’s name prominently displayed on my behind. I figured if anyone wanted that much free advertising, they’d better pay ME.
These days, the fad that everyone is doing so they can all be different is tattoos. They, too, have been around for a long time, but again, the younger generation thinks they discovered them. In fact, many of my very hip friends have a few.
I’m too scared of needles; and pain. I’d never get one, not to mention that at my age, I’d be laughed at. However, I don’t think that kids have thought far ahead, and what those tattoos may look like in the future on an older version of themselves.
Once, when standing in line at the store, I noticed the woman in front of me, around my age (29 - wink), wearing a pair of shorts. What caught my eye was the huge black and blue bruise on her calf. I almost asked her what happened when it hit me. That mark, 50 pounds and 20 years ago, had most likely been a tattoo.
The problem was, for the life of me, I couldn’t tell what it had once been. I picked up a magazine, held it in front of my face, then dropped a candy bar to the floor. Using the magazine to hide, I crouched down to pick it up and surreptitiously tried to study the mark. Still nothing. I knew that if I reached out and smoothed her skin, holding it taut, I’d probably be able to figure it out. As I didn’t want to get my face kicked, I decided to leave it alone.
All that being said, you have to admire the commitment kids make in the interest of their art and being different from all the other kids being different. This is, after all, a lifelong decision. I don’t even like clothes enough to spend the rest of my life wearing them. Heck, a pair of shoes I liked last year are now in a donation box. Still, I have a nephew that I love very, very much and he’s got more tattoos than a sailor. He’s the perfect example of not judging someone by their tattoos, though; he’s awesome (but I’m not prejudiced or anything).
And frankly, a lot of tattoos rival paintings that are displayed in museums. I might not put one on myself, but I can understand why someone else might. Maybe not head to toe, though. If you’re thinking of getting one, remember the lady in line; choose placement wisely.
Thankfully, however, not everything old is collectible or nothing would ever be thrown out. The fact is, regardless of the saying, not all “antiques” are worth much. And fads fade, no matter how popular they were at the time.
Our most treasured objects are passed from generation to generation and most of them are priceless. My china cabinet doesn’t display expensive dishes; instead, it’s full of artifacts from my life. I have a fashion ring that Matt’s grandmother (and my adopted one) loved; to me it’s worth more than the crown jewels. Also on display are things my children made for me when they were little. There’s the stemware I decorated from my wedding alongside a tiny lamp made out of an ostrich egg shell; a gift from my beloved Gretchen. There’s even a John Elway trading card and miniature Broncos mug, which is a story all by itself. All worth a fortune to me.
For me, I’m looking forward to discovering what my children, part of the next generation, will consider treasures. If I’m lucky, I’ll be one of them. After all, I’m an antique; hopefully, they’ll think I’m worth a fortune.
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