I’m going to do something different today. Dave has said from the start that Hannibal Collector is a blog for collectors, and that it is not limited to vinyl. The majority of my collecting is vinyl and books; however, there are several other items that I collect with alarming regularity. I collect crucifixes and crosses. There is no prerequisite as to what type, color, or size I seek. I’m not even sure what drives me to collect them. I just do. It’s been this way since I was a kid. Some strange compulsion leads me to that image.
I had to find a cool image to accompany this post, so any and all confusion over Black Sabbath should be cleared up pretty quick. This has nothing to do with Black Sabbath, regrettably. I’m not a religious sort, so it really has nothing to do with The Big Kahuna at the sandcastle in the clouds. I guess when you’re young and something traumatic occurs and you remember looking to something for clarity or comfort, it sticks with you through your life. I was in fifth grade and in the final rounds of the spelling bee. I lost on a technicality (I honestly don’t remember the details). i was crushed, so I did what I always did. I put on the Walkman and went walking by my house, listening to Elton John’s horrid song Nikita, and crying (as if listening to the worst song he’s done wasn’t reason enough to weep). I walked a long time and felt worse. I walked all the way down to the old Presbyterian Church of Willow Springs, and went and sat down there for a while (they had benches on the side, in case people wanted to reflect or figure out how to take over the world, etc). I found some measure of comfort in my failure and took my sweet time going home, because for the first time that rotten day, I felt better. I also spent a crazy amount of time checking out the cross on the church itself. It’s an odd practice, and one that I do whenever I have to enter a “house of the holy.” People think I’m nuts, but I’m actually just fascinated. I think that was really the start of my fixation with crosses.
Anyone who knows me and my love of crosses wonders if I’m a religious fanatic. Far from it. I believe there is a being, but it doesn’t have a name. It doesn’t have a denomination. Smart ass friends of mine call it an alien. Like politics and the Shite Sox/Flubs rivalry, I don’t get dragged into discussions of that nature, because they turn ugly fast. I’m not on this planet to affix my beliefs, or in this case hunches, to one specific being or institution of religious domain. So I say nothing. It does not in any way drive my collecting crosses. I have, between jewelry, wall decorations, pictures, and crafted items, probably about 400.
I have gotten them from friends, at yard sales, at a sale at Hines last year to benefit the Veterans Administration, at stores, and once, from a stranger on a Metra train to work downtown at Jeff’s old BAM (the fact that less than a week later they told me they were closing my store, and then letting me go shortly after that, makes me wonder about the power of some otherworldly intervention in that action). I have books that I have read that had gorgeous depictions of crucifixes upon them, and I strip the cover so I have a picture of the image. They go in my photo album, in case you were wondering. I have tried multiple times to get one from Amish country, to no avail. I think that’s my ultimate goal, actually.
I can’t, as I said earlier, explain why I love crosses so much. There has always been, for me at least, some measure of comfort in the image of the cross. I don’t think it will keep glittery fanged vampires away, I don’t think it will make a Spaghetti-O Jesus appear in my meal, and I don’t delude myself that it means anything more than just being a symbol of serenity to me. I just enjoy collecting them.