Non Stamp Collector

Marty is an avid stamp collector; a philatelist.

“Stamp collecting is generally accepted as one of the areas that make up the wider subject of philately, which is the study of stamps. A philatelist may, but does not have to, collect stamps. It is not uncommon for the term philatelist, correctly or incorrectly, to be used to mean a stamp collector. Many casual stamp collectors accumulate stamps for sheer enjoyment and relaxation without worrying about the tiny details. The creation of a large or comprehensive collection, however, generally requires some philatelic knowledge and will usually contain areas of philatelic studies.”
– Wikipedia

Marty’s best friend, Doug, doesn’t collect stamps. Because Doug doesn’t collect stamps and believes that stamp collecting is an enormous waste of time, Marty has labeled him an “aphilatelist.” Doug agrees that the word fits. And whenever Marty starts talking about stamps, Doug gets upset because he doesn’t want to hear about it. He has no interest in it. Doug often makes fun of Marty’s stamp collecting as he has found no other way to respond to being constantly forcibly subjected to stamps and stamp speak which he thinks is silly.

But then things start to get ugly. At the Stamp Collector’s Guild Annual Exposition, the most highly respected philatelist, Mr. Book, conducts a speech on what he considers the biggest single threat to philatelists the world over: APHILATELISTISM. According to Mr. Book, aphilatelists are people who share a common world view absent the concerns for rarities, misprints, mints, and all stamps in general. They even lack the most basic concern for proper stamp handling, completely ignoring and even outright DEFYING the long established doctrines that outline the ONLY way a stamp should ever be handled. Mr. Book concludes that aphilatelists are therefore morally bankrupt.

Philatelists the world over begin to see the world as us and them. “Either you collect stamps or you destroy them.” There is no in between. Philatelists begin their campaign of awareness at the post office where they erect monuments inscribed with the Stamp Handling Commandments from the New Book of Philately. Even those aphilatelists who have never touched nor thought of a stamp are branded as enemies and thought of as having a very specific world view which includes living in a constant state of active stamp rejection which leads to a varied degree of abuses on society at large.

Doug starts to feel as though the only way he can defend himself is to start studying the New Book of Philately and stamp handling laws and to be able to demonstrate that these ideas are silly when applied to aphilatelists because aphilatelists don’t have any interest in stamp collecting. While studying, Doug finds many discrepancies and the use of old and outdated technology. Doug realizes that he could actually do better than stamp collectors at their own hobby because he is not constrained by the old handling techniques prescribed in the New Book of Philately. He devises ways to handle stamps using modern technology but is told he could not possibly be right if it’s not in the Book. The Book is the law. Doug throws his hands in the air and becomes frustrated with the position Philatelists have put him in. He vows to defend aphilatelists and to use his improved stamp handling techniques when he mails letters and to share these techniques with other aphilatelists being as they are the only people who accept the new ideas.

In the following Stamp Collector’s Guild Annual Exposition, Mr. Book announces his position as officially rejecting the stamp handling techniques developed by Doug and other aphilatelists using modern technology. Mr. Book describes modern technology as “their religion” and insists that all philatelists continue to consult the New Book of Philately for proper stamp handling lest they risk being labeled as “aphilatelists” and being summarily ejected from the invite list to all subsequent Stamp Collector’s Guild Annual Expositions.

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SC Rowland is a secularist, activist, and founder of Secular Press.

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