Most folks aren’t impressed by your trophy collection, which is why they remain hidden away in your attics and crawlspaces. Trophy cases are for high school hallways and trophies are for high school heroes. Your sixth place green ribbon for that drawing contest isn’t exciting either. Most people don’t display their trophies because they realize how silly these plastic and metal gems of narcissism really are.
But as our lives stray from the pursuits of competitive dominance, many of us take up a new sport: intellectualism.
Don’t roll your eyes just yet. Your DVD collection, stacks of CDs, and diverse bookshelves that showcase your varied and engaging reading interests… Do I even spot a few of your college textbooks?
Bookshelves are the trophy case of the intellectual.
If I walked into someone’s house and saw a collection of their trophies on a shelf, I’d laugh. Shiny metal statues, a parody of the sports and activities they represent. Fortunately, I haven’t really seen that often. But I began to notice the equivalent that bookshelves have to the trophy case. Both are meant for public display, whether we admit it or not. Oh, please admire the depth of my quest for knowledge. If you still disagree, then keep your books boxed up or make a bookshelf closet. Yeah, it’s nicer to have them on display.
I’m absolutely guilty of this. There is a charm and mystique (and respect!) that comes with a well put together bookshelf. It’s no surprise that one of my favorite tumblr blogs is Bookshelf Porn. Books are a trophy of sorts. They are dated, dusty, often unmoved, and represent what we want to see and remember of ourselves. Yeah, I know. You just looooove to hold a book, smell the scent of the pages, the degradation of lignin… yeah yeah yeah we get it. I do too.
My friend Marty just told me a story about how he wanted the complete works of Shakespeare. His mom bought him a kindle.
He just wanted an intellectual trophy. And there isn’t a harm to that, but let’s not kid ourselves.
The closet doesn’t make the fashionista.
Vinyls don’t make the DJ.
Trophies don’t make the athlete.
Books don’t make the intellectual.