Issue # 12
June 9, 2000
Philatelic Love
By Rich Wilhelm

When I was a kid I loved to collect things. I think it was part of the genetic makeup of being a boy: I was simply programmed to collect. I collected rocks and seashells; paperweights and coins; baseball cards and baseball playerís autographs. The collection I loved the most though, was my stamp collection.

I honestly do not remember when I first started collecting stamps. My grandmother recently told me that one of her neighbors gave me her stamp collection, but I donít have any memory of that at all (Sorry, Grandma!). What I do know is that for several years, I was quite the little philatelist, which, is a fancy word for stamp collector. I was so thoroughly involved in philately that, during my brief, forgettable tenure in Boy Scouts, the only merit badge I earned was for stamp collecting. Iím actually still rather proud of that merit badge, and will some day sew it on a sports jacket.

This week and next I am presenting my complete collection of poems about stamp collecting, which is to say Iím presenting the two poems Iíve written on this riveting topic. I wrote the first one, Philatelic Love: Baby Iím Hinged On You, in a poetry workshop I took in ninth grade back in 1979. A few months after I wrote Philatelic Love, I sent it off to some stamp collecting journals in the hopes of getting it published. The rejection slips I received were very nice. The editors said they got a kick out of the poem, but did not publish poetry in their magazines.

While some boys continue to collect stamps throughout their lives, I think most give up philately around the time they start thinking about girls. The following poem, written when I was 14, represents my attempt to combine stamps and girls. Ultimately, girls won out and my stamp collecting days came to an end, as youíll see in next weekís poem, The Last Stamp.

Philatelic Love: Baby, Iím Hinged On You

Youíre my special delivery, baby.
Iím really hinged on you.
Your body is in mint condition
and Iím stuck on you like glue.

Youíre a í74 mint set.
To me, youíre worth thousands in love.
To me, youíre a rare inverted error.
Youíre my airmail sweetheart, dropped from above.

Iíll postmark you with kisses.
Iíll trade my stamps for you.
Comply with all my wishes
or else Iíll be so blue.

This love can never be cancelled.
Iíll love you day and night.
Youíre pretty as a commemorative
and Iím sure this love is right.

I love you dear, of that Iím sure.
I learned your zip code really fast.
I enjoy playing post office so much with you.
I hope this love will last and last.


(Please feel free to email to others who may be interested or to print hard copy for them but remember: The Dichotomy of the Dog is copyright 2000 by Rich Wilhelm. If you plan on making a bazillion dollars from this piece of writing, please let me know so I can sue you or something.)