While sorting through mounds of childhood stuff at home over Labour Day weekend, I came across a stray card from O-Pee-Chee's Raiders of the Lost Ark trading card set featuring one of my favourite scenes from the movie.
The back of the accurately sums up the action on screen.
I saw Raiders during its first run at the theatre (whatever name it was operating under that point) in Fort Malden Mall. Given that a year earlier I had run screaming out the Capitol in Windsor when Chevy Chase became Benji in Oh! Heavenly Dog, it's a testament to see how far I'd come in a year when I took in the melting Nazi scene with no problems (other than the dude with the medallion burned into his hand looked like Dad, a resemblance which his high school students reminded him about for the next year or two). From then on, Dad had few worries about taking me to a theatre to see anything that wasn't Muppets, Disney or child-centric.
The Raiders card set was one of the first non-sports series I collected, along with Topps's tribute to Superman II. I collected few non-sports series, as gaps in the set broke up the flow of the storyline printed on the back and you couldn't sort them into teams beyond heroes and villains.
Sorting was a large part of card collecting for me—I'd sit in my room or basement for hours in imitation of Dad sorting out his newspaper and magazine clippings before taking them to his classroom. I chose a sport for that day (baseball, football or hockey), then loosened the rubber bands holding each set together and sort the cards by team. Within a month or two I'd grow bored of that order and place the cards back into their respective sets. The cards weren't a future investment but something to read and play with. Dad encouraged my collecting, partly out of memories of the collection he had as a child that my grandmother got rid of for not being an educational tool. I continued this cycle of sorting into my early teens, when my interest flagged. I tried to pick up a new pack or two of cards once a year to maintain a sense of continuity in case I ever produced any offspring who shared my interest, but even that trailed off. The investor mentality the hobby veered toward alienated me, as the product became treated like a precious commodity to be preserved beneath twelve layers of protective material. My collection was worn but well-loved, which is more valuable than the latest glossy-coated, uniform swatch-embedded piece of cardboard.
The collection is still intact, but probably not for much longer as I slowly clean out my remaining stuff from Mom's. My suspicion is that I'll keep everything up to the cusp of my teens and toss out everything after that (if you'd like to make an offer for mass quantities of worthless sports cards circa 1990, talk to me after Christmas). The Raiders of the Lost Ark set will be one of the keepers, as Indy doesn't deserve a visit to a snake-filled landfill site. - JB