Auctions: Crippling the Budgets of America’s Country Folk
I’ve been at this auction in Big Spring for about four hours now and have three more to look forward to. They’re selling all and sundry here: plows, old records, farm equipment, Christmas ornaments, antique silverware, hunting rifles and anything else you’d expect a country bumpkin to feature at his yearly yard sale. Mostly junk. Almost entirely scrap from stuff outdated for decades. All bizarre- at least to my “city boy” sensibilities, anyway.
As you may or may not know, my uncle and grandpa are way into these things. They collect anything, and love a bargain, so this is their Mecca of commerce around here replete with fevered yelling and bustling crowds of old folks. The auctioneers know them very, very well and regard them as a sort of institution when they come up and often joke and mess with them. All in full respect, of course, but one thing is for sure: my grandpa is likely the biggest celebrity here. He’s the Tom Selleck of estate sales; the Elvis Presley of charisma; the Bobby Fisher of treasure hunting.
Men cower when he walks by talking money. When he wins a piece, the disappointment of the crowd at their loss makes all the flowers outside wilt and die. If Kimbo Slice went to a garage sale, he’d command less respect than grandpa Orsak.
They DO have a few rifles, an old shotgun shell reloading press and a fine old Ruger P89 9mm on the block as well as boxes of ammo, primers, bullets, shells, cleaning solvents, random calibers of rusted cartridges and more, all packed up in a nice 6’x4′ gun safe. Parted out, I would bet $50 that every single thing (except maybe the old ammunition) will go for way, way more than one could be bought brand-new at Wal-Mart. The whole process of “I have $8, $8, any takers any takers…” is less about scoring a deal or finding a rare artifact and more about the competition. The crowd here is comprised of, oh, 90% regulars who will bid their entire pension check just to beat out the other guy, enjoying the thrill of the hunt and satisfaction of the kill- er, purchase.
Note: I DO want that shotgun reloading press, but I expect it to go for $400 or more. Hmph >;;:(
Some of this stuff, like the Nazi SS replica knives they’re crooning on as I type, falls into the hands of less savory characters who collect them not for historical interest, but for the fact that they agree with the ethos behind it. I hate meeting those type of losers and having a decent conversation only to hear “… but really it’s the niggers. They’re what’s wrong with this country! Obama is a Jew pedophiliac child-killer who once raped my…” uttered in total sincerity. I save face, smile and nod, and usually jet off as soon as I can spot a distraction or feign an important phone call. I suppose it comes with the territory when living out in Rush Limbaugh World, but it’s still sick to know- much less meet– people who harbor these horrible ideologies.
But enough about the Nazis, junk and AARP kegger. I’m here to spend the with my family, and that is always a good time. Day by day I further find myself simultaneously admiring my relatives and regretting not getting to know them sooner. The thoughts I have of my clan is a whole post to itself, so we’ll save it for another day, but do know that our families really and truly connect with us on a completely unique level and no amount of generation gaps can tarnish that. The smile that spreads on grandpa’s face when he hits the jackpot is priceless.
HOLY SHIT. My grandpa just bought me the reloading press. Good god. Yes. Yes. YES!!! Alright, I gotta go bear-hug him and see what I’m going to be devoting the next six months to fucking with. Total. Win. More to follow!