Have you ever thought of picking up a hobby? I have a friend whose hobby is thinking of hobbies that he would like to start. It’s been 20 years and he’s yet to take up a hobby, so I guess he really enjoys his hobby. You see, hobbies take time and effort and he’s, well, lazy.
Sound familiar? I’m not picking on you, I’m picking on all of us. For some crazy reason, we like when things are done instead of the “doing” part. Not only has human nature rendered us sinful, but slothful. (Sure we blame Eve, but Adam was the one who said, “Honey, can you grab me an apple?”) Hobbies are one way of breaking our lazy bone. I don’t feel like writing this, which is too bad since it’s the hobby I chose.
It’s hard to pick a hobby. After all, this is something you might be doing the rest of your life, so you definitely want to make the right decision. It’s like searching for the right person to marry. You don’t want to put all your time, effort and money into something only to end up in divorce court.
Speaking of marriage, this needs to be considered in choosing your hobby. For instance, if you like collecting World War II memorabilia, is your wife really going to want that stuff decorating the house? A German Luger salt shaker? A V-1 rocket statuette? A colorful Nazi flag used as a quilt to drape over that sofa adorned with swastika throw pillows? I don’t see it happening…
Some people have strange hobbies, like putting little ships in bottles. I still don’t know how that’s done. I think I’d go crazy and end up with a new hobby of smashing tiny ships and breaking bottles. How do they get those things in there? Could it be magic? Now that’s a good hobby. Magic. What a great way to impress your friends. For once in your rotten life you could be the cool guy that everybody wants at parties. Girls would finally talk to you, possibly even pretty ones.
“How did you do that?” the babe would ask.
“I’ll tell you if you go out with me,” you’d reply with a wink.
“Never mind, it’s not that important,” she’d say over her shoulder, walking away.
On the other hand, stamp collecting is very exciting for those people who like to take a walk on the mild side. And truly, who can ever have enough stamps? There are so many to choose from. Every country has different ones. Some of them even have a post office philatelist, as the serious stampers call themselves. With the price of stamps creeping up, it’s not a cheap hobby. If it becomes too expensive for you, maybe you could try food-stamp collecting. You really can’t go wrong with this one, especially if you like licking things. My first kiss was a 23- cent air express postal stamp. As a matter of fact, we went to the prom together.
My brother used to collect rocks when he was a kid. It was really affordable for him, since he found many of them inside his head. I wonder whatever happened to those rocks. Intuition tells me my mom was involved in their disappearance.
Music is a hobby a lot of people are into. Rock jocks can tell you the lead guitarist of every band that ever opened for Led Zeppelin, and which member bit the head off a bat. Heavy metal diehards wear black shirts with something like 1980 Stones Tour – Tattoo You and a big Mick Jagger tongue on it. Come to think of it, Mick would make a good stamp collector.
The great thing about music is there’s a genre for everyone. Classical buffs can identify a symphony’s movements, and let you know if it’s in a major or minor key. Jazz folks always want you to hear some endless sax solo. You can’t beat Jazz names. Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, Charlie Bird Parker. Tell me they don’t sound jazzy. And the blues crowds understand that someone’s baby is going to be leaving them, and it’s going to bring about quite a bit of sadness. Depression as a hobby. Now there’s a good one.
As a child, I knew people who collected comic books. They were usually the ones who could never come out and play. They stayed up in their “bat cave,” reading and perhaps dreaming of taking down Mr. Freeze with their secret gamma-ray burp. They knew everything about superheroes. Naïve me would be like, “Does the guy carry around a green lantern and hit people with it?”
Some of those editions could fetch up to 600 bucks today. Stupid me, I was into Mad Magazine. (I wonder what a vintage ABILITY Magazine goes for?) I don’t know if there’s a correlation, but these comic book collectors turned out to be computer whizzes, making more money by the age of 30 than I’ll see in my lifetime. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone out to play.
Sports is another good hobby. Baseball enthusiasts know statistics from Pee Wee Reese to Harmon Killebrew, who incidentally had a lifetime average of .256 with 573 homeruns. They are fanatics about stats. I’m lucky if I can remember my four digit ATM pin.
A lot of men love sports. A lot of women hate men loving sports. They think why can’t he love me? (Incidentally, it is not a good way to express your love by tackling your girl.) But sports are a financially tough hobby to swallow. In order to go to a professional game you’ll probably need to liquidate your annuity, or sell your baseball cards. However, it is a good hobby that offers a great excuse to watch TV all day.
WIFE: “Are you going to watch football games all day?”
HUSBAND: “You told me to take up a hobby.”
Keeping with the sports theme, gambling has also become a hobby for some. These are the people who have decided they no longer want their car, house or wife, so they take up gambling. It’s a fun hobby when you’re winning, unfortunately the fun doesn’t last. I don’t go to Vegas, because I know the only thing that stays in Vegas is my money. I knew a big time gambler who bet me he would never gamble again. I took the bet, which meant he lost. Horses, football, poker, running naked at a soccer game, nothing is off-limits with this hobby.
Sticking with the vice theme, drugs are not a good hobby. They’re trouble from the get-go. They do get you up off the couch and motivate you to go see your dealer. They also get you thinking about all the hobbies you’re going to do in your life. When you’re high, there is so much you are going to achieve; then you come down and all those things become too difficult to accomplish. So you’ve no choice but to get high again, so you can get motivated to tackle all those hobbies again.
A lot of women take up the expensive hobby of shopping. They collect things like blouses, bathing suits, dresses and shoes. Especially shoes. Then, when their girlfriends come over, they take them to the closet to show off their collection of pumps and high heels. Women have a great knowledge of this hobby. They can tell you who made what purse. How much it cost. And where you can find the items on sale. Most people are proud of their hobby, but this is one some women hide—at least from men.
Oh, here’s a good one. Learn a foreign language. Is there any greater way to impress people than by ordering a meal in French? Donnez-moi trois Big Macs et le super-sized Coca Cola, s’il vous plait.” And isn’t that what life is about? Duping people into thinking you’re smart. Living in America, it’s probably best to learn Spanish, since that’s what many people speak nowadays. But you also might want to pick up Chinese, so you can read the instructions that came with your new wall cabinet. Or you may want to learn one of the Indian languages, for when they move your job offshore.
I tried coin collecting as a kid. But every time I saw something cool in the back of some magazine, I’d spend the coins I’d collected to get the item, which always turned out to be a major disappointment. Sea Monkeys, my ass. I’d waste rare change, probably worth 40 to 50 bucks in the coin-collecting world to buy a $1.99 item. Whatever piece of junk I was stupid enough to purchase, the postage and handling were always triple the price of the trinket itself.
You can always learn how to play an instrument. Some people in life are good at blowing; others have a knack for sucking. As a matter of fact, I used to play a shoe horn, until I got athlete’s mouth and had to quit before I developed corns on my lip. All musical instruments are great. Think of the frustration you can release by beating on a set of drums. You might not become bloody rich but you could be the next Buddy Rich.
There are so many hobbies to choose from. A lot of guys like to spend time alone with a hoe. You can buy a camera and go around snapping pictures. (I once dated a photographer, but nothing really developed.) You can dive into sewing, writing, mysophilia, dancing, categorizing moths or beer can collecting. Yeah, beer can collecting. Believe me, it’s a lot of fun emptying out that hops brewed malt into your fat belly and slurring to your friends, “This baby’s from a remote part of China.”
Do hobbies have a purpose? You bet they do. They get you doing something in your stinking life. Plus, and I know how much this could hurt, you get to learn something, which is more than you’d get from watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother. (If, by chance, you’re one of the handful of people who watch the show.) Incidentally, being a couch potato is not a hobby.
by Jeff Charlebois