Mel Birnkrant's
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All Original Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
I believe that every Human Being on this planet is a collector.   Each of us stepped into the World, ready and eager to collect.  We began our First Collection, not long after we were born.  And we all began by collecting the same thing: WORDS!

We started collecting words as soon as we could talk.  And each of our collections has continued to grow, throughout our lifetime.  Like any major collection, it grew very fast, at first.  But as our collections became more advanced, new words, rare words, and words we had never heard before, became harder to find to add to the collection.

And we store our collection of words in our heads.  I sometimes wonder how they are organized in there.  I can't quite visualize it, but I have tried.  The arrangement must be quite efficient, for, most of the time, I know exactly where each word I want is stored, ready to use at a split second's notice.  Sometimes, I will misplace a word, and I must dig around to find it, not always with success.  I thought I knew where I had put it.  In fact, the last time I looked for it, it was on the tip of my tongue.

The person, who had the world’s biggest collection of words, might well have been Noah Webster. He displayed the words in his collection in a rather unimaginative way, neatly lined up in alphabetical order, on shelves of equal size, in something called a Dictionary.

Others display their collection of words in more creative ways, arranging them in infinitely unique combinations. Their displays can move, inspire, enlighten, entertain and delight. They can make the viewer see things that they have never noticed and think thoughts that they never thought before

William Shakespeare is a good example of someone who displayed his collection well. He illustrates the premise that how a collection is displayed matters!  The commonest words can appear beautiful, when well displayed.  And by the same token, a poor arrangement can make even the rarest and most beautiful words seem dull.

I always found it fascinating to hear our former President, George W. Bush, talk. As he brought out the biggest and best words in his collection, some of which had, obviously, been broken, and amateurishly restored, he seemed to savor each word slowly, carefully pronouncing it, and enjoying every syllable, as if he was discovering it for the first time.  Would that I could recapture the joy that I once felt, the first time I beheld my favorite toys, and relive that, all too fleeting, feeling of initial delight and excitement, each time I bring them out.