I am starting to think maybe I should put more effort into book collecting than whiskey. It was less frustrating and had more fun surprises. For nearly two years now I have been frustrated in my attempts to acquire a bottle of Henry McKenna 10 Year bourbon. I have come close to getting one, I even saw it in the store, in the hand of a man from Mississippi. The last one, right there, three feet away; so close yet so far. Today even a bottle eluded me by an hour. And what drives me nuts is that this is not a particularly rare bottle. It is just high demand and limited supply. One of the cool things about gathering whiskeys is that some really great bottles remain reasonably priced. Which also means that they all get scooped up immediately by people with more time and money on their hands than I. So for all the benefit of when I finally get my grubby little hands on one that the bank won’t be broken, it will probably be the only one I get for another five years.
Additionally, I must confess this is an entirely self created problem. With fair regularity I can purchase a snifter at Hammer and Ale. As well, I don’t really need more bourbon. I can live without. There is also my sneaking suspicion that I have built it up too much in my head and it is only as good as my beloved and widely available Old Forester 1920. But still I am determined to get one and the problem is because I am a completist.
There is a distinction between a collector and a completist. I don’t need a bunch of hard to find or rare things. No I need very specific, complete set of whatever it is that enhances my ongoing set up. It started when I was a kid. It was not enough to have an Aquasharks Lego set. I had to have all five of the Aquasharks Lego sets. I wanted Aquanauts but we were too poor to afford the final biggest Aquanaut base set so I embraced the villains. Later it became books, to this day my great regret is that I have been unable to complete my facsimile first edition set of The Chronicles of Narnia. I am missing Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and it gnaws at me. Particularly because I had a chance to get it when it was seventy bucks and now it is over $700 if a copy comes up for sale. But with books in general this scenario is an outlier. Books are not perishable, they don’t slowly get lower and lower until they are gone. Cigars are another thing that is a struggle to complete. A full box is a beautiful thing. I love the feeling of knowing that I have large quantities of favored sticks. And yet… Cigars are better smoked.
Cigars, whiskey, are like the cliche, “A ship at harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” A full box of Undercrows is good to look at, but that is not what cigars are rolled for. My “carousel of scotch” is in constant jeopardy of being a few riders short. And that I may not be able to replace the finished bottle. And that gnaws at me. Some cigars are released but once a year. Whiskey comes in batches, and sometimes a guy from down south drives across the border and snags what should have been yours.
Books once printed stay that way, they don’t run out and need to be replaced. And short of me striking oil in my backyard there is little to no chance that I will be at Sotheby’s bidding on an original manuscript. Which means that there is always still a chance that one day I will walk into a used book store, and there wedged on a shelf will be the volume I have been looking for. Books tend to circulate too (as do Legos). I even finagled a few Lewis first editions.* So yeah books might be the obsession to return to. Except… I have no more room, my most likely cause of death is now being crushed by one of the teetering piles I keep creating. Also books don’t taste as good as a cigar or whiskey. And when you combine the three…**
Yes, this is a self inflicted wound, I probably need to get myself sorted out. Or, I could look into rekindling my love of model trains!
*Real not facsimile, and British not American. American you can almost find in your sleep for some of his works.
**maybe with a good block of cheese as well.