I was raised in the ‘80s. That makes me 29-ish, by my count.
As a kid, I planned to make my fortune by way of sports memorabilia. My friends and I would go to any card show in the general vicinity and buy up the players cards we thought we would make money on.
I remember calling the Toys R Us in Union City on their delivery day – I believe it was Tuesday – to see if they had put new sports figures on the shelves yet.
I wanted to be first in the store after the truck left.
I bought a lot of Steve Avery rookie cards. I may have even had a few minor league cards of his. When Andruw Jones was drafted, I bought up everything that had his picture or signature on it.
Little did I realize at the time, that a few million kids my same age were doing the exact same thing as me.
I had figured out who I thought the future stars would be. I just wasn’t smart enough to figure out a card is only worth something if there aren’t a million identical cards, all in pristine condition.
I remember once I came home with something Mickey Mantle related and told my father how much it was worth. For the sake of this story, let’s say it was $100.
My father replied, “That thing’s only worth a hundred dollars to someone willing to give you a hundred dollars for it. It ain’t worth (censored) to me.”
My dad always had a way with words.
But it was then that I realized I may need to come up with a backup plan, in case the Toby Nix Card Shop didn’t make me the millions I was counting on.
I have preached the importance of a college degree to my son for as long as he could listen. I’ve always wished I had a degree in something and wanted him to go to college.
Then something happened somewhere around 2016 where I started seeing maybe college wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
I saw lots of footage of college kids behaving in ways that did not convince me a lot of higher learning was taking place.
I have friends who are electricians and have great careers. I began to slack off on the college talk and start mentioning learning a trade.
There is no shame in learning a trade, and there might well be more demand for skilled labor than degrees in the near future.
Then my son began to mention military and/or law enforcement as career options. Also viable options.
The other day I finally told him the only advice I could really give him was to be happy. Whatever path that might lead him down, just pursue happiness. I haven’t figured anything out. Who am I to offer up much else, in the way of advice?
I also told him he doesn’t have to know the day after he graduates what he wants to spend the rest of his life doing.
He has to start being a productive member of society, but other than that, just enjoy life.
Once he hits 25-30, then he can start thinking 30 years down the line.
Maybe in 30 years some of my old cards will be worth something again.
“Father and Son Card Shop” has a nice ring to it.
Toby Nix is a local writer, guitarist and deputy sheriff. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .