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How Did Shopping for Waffles Turn into Buying Batarang?: Collecting Vs. Hoarding

It was 7 a.m. and I was on a mission to find breakfast supplies.

My TTRPG morning show, Warlocks & Waffles, was celebrating its 20th episode, and I felt that not having waffles handy would have been a big oops on my part.

As I was browsing the aisles, something caught my eye. Sitting there, misplaced on a shelf between baby supplies and discount ottomans, was a Batman Beyond Batarang.

Batman from Batman Beyond throwing batarang, it being caught, and tossed back by a woman with read hair followed by that woman tackling batman and a pudgey man reacting to the tackle.
I felt like the random guy in the background

My immediate reaction was to look around. Was I being tricked? Was this some nerd trap? In the era of memes and prank videos, my first thoughts are usually, "is someone recording this to post on the internet later?"

Probably not the healthiest of ways to live my life, but if I'm going to be made to look ridiculous on the internet, it's going to be because I made it happen.

If you were in the aisle next to me, you would hear the squealing of tires as someone dramatically turned a shopping cart at breakneck speeds.

Internet pranks be damned, I wanted a closer look at that Batarang.

I wasn't going to buy it, you know, since I was clearly here for breakfast supplies and not nostalgia-charged impulse purchases, but I wanted to make sure it was what it was and not some discount baby know, in case it was shelved correctly.

Stock image of brown ottoman.
You know, but for babies.

There it was. The Batarang from Batman Beyond. Just sitting there. Practically calling out to me from between diapers and marked-down furniture.

Again, here for waffles, not spending money I didn't have on sweet-ass collectible replica weapons designed for justice.

The only toys I should be buying are ones for my toddler, and I don't think she'd appreciate the futuristic aerodynamics of this fancy boomerang.

Everything from that moment forward is a blur.

I think I pretended to read the box. To make it look like there was something that convinced me to put it in my cart.

But we all know the truth.

I was going home with this thing the moment I laid eyes on it.

I made sure to finish my shopping and get the things I was actually there for.

I know, or at least I'm pretty sure, no one was paying any more attention to me than they normally would, but that didn't stop me from assuming that they were all wondering why this guy needed waffles, ice cream, candles, a Batarang, and orange juice.

It was one of those situations where if someone glanced at the items on that checkout counter, they would instantly know a lot about you and your plans.

I knew purchases screamed:

"I was here for something specific and have poor self-control!"

I managed to get to my car without a public nerd-shaming, and I got everything home in time for our 20th episode.

Picture of box containing batman beyond replica batarang.
Aerodynamic Futuristic Justice

I want to think that anyone watching our show couldn't tell I was longly staring off-camera, desperate to open that damn box.

Once we signed off, I attacked the box like it was Christmas morning.

I had the presence of mind to set up my camera to record it because, again, if I'm going to be ridiculous on the internet, it's going to be because I made it happen.

I'm too old to be realizing this now, but playing with toys was way less complicated when you're a kid.

When you're a kid, you focus on having fun.

When you're a stay-at-home dad to a toddler, you don't have time to play with toys unless they're your kid's.

Picture of child's room with blocks scattered on floor.
This isn't aerodynamic futuristic justice.

While the idea of teaching my toddler to expertly wield a Batarang sounds really cool, I don't think my wife would appreciate it over potty training.

I'm a dad. I can't buy toys to just play with them, so what then?

What's someone that buys things they like for the simple pleasure of having them?

Oh yeah, a collector.

Meme of Marge Simpson with Pokemon Cards.
Not me though, I know how to play with them too!

I never really considered myself a collector.

Yeah, I like having stuff, looking at the stuff I have, and I've organized binders of Pokemon cards in my day.

But Pokemon cards were the only things I've ever "collected."

Unless I count all of the books I've bought, the crazy amount of dice I've accumulated, and all of the D&D-related nonsense that dominates my den.


It's finally hitting me; I started collecting without realizing it somewhere along the way.

There is a fine line between collecting and hoarding.

Unfortunately for me, I walk that line a little too much.

I like displaying my nonsense.

I like having a lot of props, tools, and resources at my disposal when creating videos or playing D&D.

However, I'm also the type that's not too bothered by mess, and that's the line.

It's very easy for a collection to become a pile of "stuff", and even easier for things to go from untidy to cluttered, to mess, to garbage pile.

If I'm being realistic, I'm somewhere between cluttered and verging on mess.

That's not good. So, what happens now?

I think being aware of where you are on that "Collection-Hoard" spectrum is important.

Sometimes, that means being very honest with yourself, and if you're unable to do that, finding someone who will be brutally honest with you.

Make sure you listen to that person.

  • They're not attacking the things you love

  • Making fun of you

  • Or trying to make you feel bad for being the way you are

You have to acknowledge there is a way to own things without it looking like at any moment a camera crew is going to bust into your house to inform you you have a problem.

Still shot from the Hoarders TV show on A&E
I never saw this coming.

Figure out what you want and what you need.

If there's something you want, how can you make it fit into your current situation?

It's not bad to want stuff, but there's a cost for everything. It's not always about money; sometimes, you need to realize the cost might be letting your "collection" become a "hoard."

Develop a system.

Get creative with how you organize and display your collections.

Make a game out of it.

Do whatever you have to do to get it done, and maintain it.

Maintaining everything is where I'm currently getting hung up.

I've picked up new things, new games are being sent to me for review, and if I've used something from my shelves, I haven't gotten them back to their designated spots.

Mess desk with Shure mic, elgato boom arm, elgato hd60s, and dungeons and dragons accessories.
That's not where any of that is supposed to go.

Our den, originally supposed to be a shared office space for my wife and me, has slowly devolved into a treacherous nerdy cave/studio where only I know where it is safe to step and which piles can support another box being stacked upon it.

It kills me.

I assure myself that as soon as I have the time, I will tackle this place and make it what it should be.

  • A place to celebrate the memories and hobbies I care about

  • An environment where adults can do work free of stress

  • And a place where I can let my daughter come in and ask questions about the cool stuff she sees

I want to share all of this space and these hobbies with my family, and the only thing keeping that from happening is me.

I tell myself, "Today's the day," but sometimes, that isn't enough.

Sometimes, you need to write a blog post about how you bought something you didn't need so you can say "Today's the day" to the world, hoping that that's the thing that finally holds you accountable.

Plenty of things in our lives feel like they're out of our control, too difficult, or not worth the effort.

However, it doesn't always have to feel so insurmountable.

If you recognize there's an issue, get help however you can, and make an honest effort to get past it, you'll feel a weight being lifted from your shoulders and find that you can enjoy the people and things in your life more than you could.

I'm done with holding on to things that are only taking up space, and I am mustering every ounce of strength I have to ignore my excuses, make the time, and take this seriously.

If I don't, then I'll look ridiculous.

If anyone is going to make me look ridiculous on the internet, it's going to be me.

If anyone is going to buckle down and transform a dangerous almost-hoard into a safe space where nerdy things are celebrated, it needs to be me.


I'm not a mental health professional, and I know not everyone may have a strong support network or access to mental health resources.

If you or someone you know needs help, check out the resources available at Nami: The National Alliance on Mental Health.

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