I was at a coin store the other day, and asked the proprietor about a nice proof condition Walking Liberty half dollar. He chatted with me a bit, and lamented the fact that numismatics was a dying hobby-that once today’s generation had passed, there would be no more coin collectors, save at the absurd .01% level-the kind of people who only want some coin that is absolutely unique merely to say they have it, rather than as a passion they have to finish a collection they began years ago and painstakingly accumulated over a lifetime.
Of course, conventional wisdom says that the young aren’t interested in such stuffy hobbies anymore. That the research and dedication required to appreciate esoterica of this sort, while it may indeed be admirable and educational, is outdated because video games and instant gratification have produced a world full of short attention-span zombies that can’t possibly be enticed to enjoy such mundane activities as numismatics, building models, philately (stamp collecting), or even just the simple joy of reading a good book or going fishing.
However, today, I was enjoying lunch in Seville with a great view of the street from which I could people watch. Directly across from me was a toy model store, and it brought back pleasant memories of when I used to carefully construct Monogram models, mostly of WWII aircraft, during my nerdy youth. A family passed the storefront, and a young boy peeped in the window and tugged on his father’s sleeve. The father continued down the street, but the boy remained fixated on the display of models. Eventually, the entire family of 5 had to return to get the boy, and dad led the little guy off, but not before he took one last longing look at the display.
I hope that boy’s father one day buys his son the model he wanted. I think it will help him in ways he can’t really understand right now. It helps, I think, in this crazy world of ours to remember that we should enjoy the pleasant moments we are afforded through quiet contemplations, hobbies, and devotions, not so that we can escape from reality, but to remember that reality is to some degree what we make of it.