Available for Trade (3/14/2010) Cards I Need (12.10.2010)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Origins: The Flash

Sometimes I feel like my card collecting lives in perpetual flashback. Looking at new designs or cards from the '98-'07 time period are alien to me sometimes. Pictures of Mid-90's Fleer Ultra or Donruss insert cards are comforting and remind me of the card shop I used to work at. That is the origin of the "Flash."

I'm sure a few of you have noticed "Flash" show up as my name when I publish comments on Blogspot blogs. That's me, Peter of Dropped Third Strike, we are one in the same. I've been wearing Flash in almost every aspect of my Internet life, it has proven to be a very useful nickname. The majority of my username handles contain Flash.

Anyhow, I began working for a local card shop "Kearny Rare Card and Coin" in Kearny, NJ during the 8th grade. I was a regular at the shop during 7th grade and one summer while at a card show I somehow convinced John, the owner of the shop, to have me work at the card shop. I don't remember if I began working there that summer or if I started when school started. But during my lunchhour I would walk about a block to Peter's Pizzeria to get a slice of pizza and then walked 3 stores over to the card shop to handle lunch duty. I barely worked 40 minutes but I helped handle the kids coming in to buy packs of cards, individual cards or pogs (that was the fad at the time). I didn't really get paid much but then again I was only 13 or 14 years old. What was I going to spend my money on, really......well, other than baseball cards.

And that brings me to one faithful night early on in my employment. See I worked at lunchtime but I also worked Friday nights and sometimes Saturdays. One Friday night, my dad came to pick me up and I was fighting that internal struggle of spending my just earned money on cards. Now, I've walked away from that shop with no pay and even out some of my own money but with a Hank Aaron or Willie Mays or a crap ton of Fleer Ultra. It was a blessing and a curse to work in that shop. After having my father wait however long it was until I made up my mind, I started moving toward him and the door. He looks at me and goes, "You all done there Flash?" With that my boss chuckled with a laugh that could only be described as Santaesce. He then says "Flash, I like that, I think I'll call you that." It just happened to be a name my dad threw out there. My dad calling me Flash was a little change in pace. He used to call me "Chief" all the time which is what we would sometimes call my grandfather (who is also named Peter and has his own nickname of "Fish.") Anywho, my father and I were departing John says, "Have a good night, Flash." And thus my card shop name of Flash was born.

While you might think it's strange to walk into a building and take on a completely different name, it's something that apparently happens routinely for me. While I worked at a Pizzeria here in North Carolina I was called "Pino" which I think is an Italian singer. And where I work now, the HR people call me Uncle Pete because I became an uncle about 4 and a half years ago.

But when I walked into that shop or anytime I was around John, I was Flash. And it felt like I had just put my shoe on the wrong foot if someone called me Peter or Pete while I was at work. All my co-workers called me Flash and none of them really knew my real name unless they asked. Conversely, outside of the card shop if anyone called me Flash it felt awkward and uncomfortable.

My Flash nickname is as much apart of my collecting baseball cards as the box of Mattingly cards I accrued while working at the shop. It doesn't bother me on the Internet because that's the place of anonymity and different personas. But in person I reserve the right to be called Flash by only two people, my father and "John from the card shop." And I had the privilege of being called Flash during my recent visit to NJ...

but that's a story for another time.


Dave - Fielder's Choice said...

So not even Kimaloo can get away with calling you Flash?

Anonymous said...

Nope. The nickname I gave him is even better but I won't embarrass him like that. He calls me "Kimmy Bear" though so you can imagine, lol.

Dinged Corners said...

what a fantastic story. we really enjoyed this. btw, thanks very much for the cards you sent.