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Are you a nutty collector?
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Do you collect things? For reasons known only to God and Alan Greenspan, we humans are the only species that collects things just for fun. Penguins don't knowingly collect sports memorabilia; turtles don't collect stamps; and I've yet to meet a dog who owned any artwork - not even an acrylic-on-velvet painting of a fire hydrant. Animals collect berries, nuts, twigs and other practical things, and except for the pack rat, random collecting is a human act, passion and obsession. I'm an admitted collector. I collect teapots, guitar amplifiers and English grammar books, but, I'm not a pack rat. All my collections are practical: I drink tea, I play guitar, and I write. Everything I collect has a use, just as an acorn has use to a squirrel. But not everyone can be a rational collector like me. Some people are nutty collectors.

Do you know there actually people out there who collect porcelain clowns?
Seriously. I would hate to own a collection of clowns, porcelain or otherwise because I don't like clowns, porcelain or otherwise. And some people collect plates they then hang on their walls. They don't eat off them; they just hang them on their walls and admire them. Incredible, isn't it? And the scariest thing about these nutty collections is that the madness never stops. For Christmas, these people ask Santa for more porcelain clowns and more plates. What a nightmare. Imagine opening your Christmas presents, thinking Santa gave you an exciting new book on sentence diagramming and all you see is a plate with a cat's face on it. How incredibly disappointing that must be.

I suppose beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Maybe those cat-plate people wouldn't want a book on English grammar or a vintage guitar amp. Maybe the porcelain clown collectors would turn their noses up at a fancy teapot. It's unimaginable to think that anyone could consider those to be dumb things to collect, but it's possible. There might be one or two people - clown collectors, most likely - who would consider the things I collect to be "junk." Well, these people wouldn't recognize an exciting English grammar book if it bit them on their big red porcelain clown noses. But I don't have time to worry about that. I just saw a teapot shaped like a rocket ship, and I need to write a letter to Santa before he gets bogged down with all those silly cat plate requests.

David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at