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August 9, 2017

Old Habits Become Expensive

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I have gotten back into stamp collecting. I had put my book on Malayan stamps away for about 20 years and decided, during my last illness, to attack and bring it up to date.


One of the heart breaking aspects of living in the Tropics is that many of my mint, never hinged, stamps (those stamps that had all the original glue and had not been cancelled) had stuck to the black paper. The paper was covered with a plastic line to protect the stamps. They had formed a block of glue about the size of a pin head and no amount of coercing was going to move them. I carefully slid the tweezers under the stamps to loosen them but to no avail. They were stuck and were going to remain stuck. Of course, some of them were my most expensive stamps, ruined.


I checked my stamp collection and decided to purchase a few stamps on eBay. I am what they call a bottom feeder where I purchase stamps at a very low price of say under $10. I happily saw tons of stamps at low prices thinking I would never get them because the prices were astronomically low. Somebody will bid me up I thought.


I went on a bidding spree. I happily added my low bid to hundreds of stamps in full knowledge that I would get only one or two. I was joyfully bidding away with such small amounts, and to be mailed to Malaysia no less, that I was sure, nay positive, that successes would be few and far between. When the dust settled, I had bought 76 stamps.


The first problem was how to pay for them. I sent in funds for most of them, but a few I could not cover. I sent a small message "Bought too many stamps. Wife angry. Can you wait until Thursday?" All of the sellers agreed, except for two who somehow cancelled my order.


The next problem was how to explain all the loss money to my wife. She was just getting used to the Internet and had never heard of eBay, being from a small Kampung just across the river. I sat her down to explain it all, but she was more interested in my stamps.


I explained to her the rigorous of collecting, and she took to it like a hound dog trees a coon. Now, whenever stamps come in from one of the many I had purchased, I hand them over to her and she opens the envelope. She hands me the information and I sing glorious praises in feedback to those who let me have a week or so of credit. I hand them back and she places them in the correct order in the stamp book. So much for the joy of collecting stamps.


The next problem was Bank of America. I had overdrawn my account by about $15 and had no way to correct the problem until a deposit was made, 10 days hence. I could afford a couple hundred in late fees, so I just waited. Bank of America dutifully added up the fees and paid my incoming bills at $35 per day. It's not like they weren't going to get paid, the deposit is automatic, but they don't like lending money to dead beats like myself. But that is another story.


Suriani is enjoying our somewhat more expensive stamps, thanks to the bank fees while I ponder my next writing project.


..Life is good. . . . .


Oh, here are some more words from the book The Entailed Hat which I wrote about last week.


Nabob, mazzard, surplice, glibe, cambric, tejus, chork, rupe, quadroon,keerless, quotients, madges, spile, encomiums, nimenog, baracoons, haws and pops.


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