A Little Knowledge is Dangerous — and Annoying

I’m a junker. This is not a confession, just a statement of self-evident fact. No, our house is not packed to the rafters with antique garbage (or any other kind). We buy very selectively, and “the hunt is always more fun than the kill,” metaphorically speaking. But that hunt is something Carol and I do for fun, and I was more or less hooked the day I found a Hiroshi Yoshida woodblock print for fifteen bucks, when a comparable one sold at auction for $600+. “Antique” stores, flea markets, whatever. If we find one we have to check it out. This interest branches out into other areas—Woodblock prints, Japanese swords and mountings, and other things I have neither the time nor money to pursue properly. But I’m a writer. I research. It’s almost instinctive. So is learning a little bit about a lot of things, which helps you to know where to dig when more depth is required for a project. Plus, anything that interests me, I have to know more about it. Human nature, that is.

So Junking is entertainment. Anything related is likewise. I watch very little network tv anymore, but some of the cable shows I do follow– American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Antique Roadshow, Auction Kings, things like that. And sometimes I wish I could just turn the brain off when I watch these. Mind candy for people with a junker bent. Don’t take anything you see too seriously because you know there’s more than a bit of Barnum in all of it. Still, it’s one thing to know that and quite another to have it demonstrated for you. When Pawn Stars claims it has an antique katana so precious they can’t even show it, you have to go, “Yeah, right. Not unless you’ve found the missing Masamune.” When American Pickers pays $200 for a WWII Showato and their “expert” doesn’t even examine the tang and values it at $400, and again you know the same sword as-is would bring twice that much on FleaBay, minimum, it kind of spoils things, you know?

Ignorance may not be bliss, but at least it doesn’t interfere with one’s mindless entertainment. Or one’s mindless anything, really.  Sigh. No matter, when the ship has sailed there’s nothing for it but to wave good-bye from the dock.