“Do you have a copy without autographs?” “No.[1,2]” Autographs represent a moment in time where one person interacted with another person and recorded it via an object. Is it a way of “proving” that I once spoke to so-and-so? Why even care about such evidence? Even a photo just shows you were there. What difference does it make? What happens when the person giving the autograph or posing stops being as favorable or becomes detestable?
I’ve thrown away autographed stuff.
I once worked with someone that was in a band. I bought his CD. He signed it. After I told him I couldn’t make it out to their show mid-week, he influenced others into treating me poorly, so I threw away their CD. They’ve opened for some bands you might have heard of, otherwise, that CD and that memory – initially good, turned bad – is irrelevant to me besides as a psychology example.
I own bargain binned autographed stuff.
One CD is by a band you’ve probably heard of, if you’re into that sort of music, but the CD itself isn’t worth much even at high-end online market prices, so I doubt a squiggle in marker will increase the value much. It’s going into my next thrift store drop-off, for someone else to maybe make a fortune from.
I’ve got plenty of signed things.
Most from less popular bands that played in smaller venues. I’ve talked to some people about everything from how incredible GUITAR WOLF is, to earthquakes, to work stuff. Every time, I’m excited to see them, I give them praise, and sometimes if I buy enough merchandise, I get to peek behind the curtains into their lifestyle. One guitarist told me once his shoes were beyond repair and a fan just gave him his shoes.
This is what an autograph or photo should represent.
What value would it be for me to own a Kurt Cobain autograph? He made my favorite band, I have a bunch of Nirvana stuff, but he died before I could ever meet him as a music fan. I would have no memories tied to it. Even if Cobain imbued a small part of his essence into that squiggle he performatively drew upon that humble object, I’m no sorcerer. I can’t bring him back.
A person that signed some stuff for me once died recently.
I lauded him with praise. He appreciated it. I bought every item in their discography up until that point. I missed seeing him perform the last time he was in town; I don’t believe in next times. He’d already broken up the band over some legal matters. I make my peace each time I go or miss a show over whether I’d be OK never seeing them again.
We do this daily.
Each person we talk to could die at any time. It’s not worth getting too worked up over.
We mourn the closer ones, feel sad for the further ones, necessarily, then we must ride on.
|Quotes: [1,2] I was talking to a merch booth person at a show. What’s the point of pre-autographed stuff?|
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I was already planning on writing about the Taproot CD I bought at some bargain bin when I heard the news about Tengger Cavalry’s Nature Ganganbaigal. When I met him, he was the sort of person that I would have wanted a musician whose music I enjoyed to be: approachable, nice, and insightful. That’s what I’ll remember more than everyone giggling about how to draw their autographs on the inside of a CD.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photo: My “autograph” on my laptop lid.|
|Written On: June 25th [20 minutes, mobile]|
|Last Edited: June 26th [minor edits; otherwise; first draft; final draft for the Internet]|