I began collecting cards when I was in fourth grade and continued until I graduated high school, and Dad had only one question the entire time . . .
"How many cards do you have?"
I can't remember the first package I opened, but it was most likely football cards . . . or basketball . . . or baseball . . . or Batman. Tim Burton's "Batman" was released in 1989, and I still own 126 pieces of cardboard depicting the Caped Crusader committing random acts of violence.
Hollywood also convinced me to buy "Independence Day," "King Kong," Universal Monsters, Marvel Comics and two different series of Three Stooges cards, while I also purchased card sets of the Beatles and Elvis, but this was before musical cards were invented.
I was never tempted to eat a card, either, but that didn't prohibit me from purchasing Denny's MLB cards, Hostess CupCakes' MLB cards, Twizzler MLB cards, Tombstone Pizza MLB cards, Ralston Purina MLB cards, Kellogg's MLB cards, two different series of Jimmy Dean MLB cards, six different series of Post Cereal MLB cards and six different series of McDonald's NBA and NFL cards. And to wash it down, I collected Coca-Cola cards and Coke's NFL Monsters of the Gridiron cards.
My favorite sets were 1994's Upper Deck Collector's Choice, though I continued to use my weekly allowance to support companies like Topps, Score, Fleer, Donruss, SkyBox, Bowman, Playoff, Leaf and occasionally Hallmark.
And though most of my cards are comprised of MLB, NFL and NBA cards, I still found time for The Baseball Enquirer Fun Stuff cards, Texas Longhorns baseball cards, Wichita Falls Texans CBA cards, Sunkist Wacky Players basketball and football cards and World League football cards.
Size didn't matter when it came to cards. I have giant (5x7) cards, fat (3.5 x 4.5) cards, big (3.5 x 5) cards, long (2.5 x 4.75) cards and standard (2.5 x 3.5) cards.
I have cards in sleeves, cards in boxes, cards in frames and cards in a tin. I have bronze cards, silver cards, gold cards, Olympic cards, World Cup cards, MLS cards and two different series of Dessert Storm cards.
Thanks to a collection of over 250 Kenner Starting Lineup figures, I also have over 250 Kenner Starting Lineup cards.
In the early to mid '90s, I had a two-pack-a-day habit that took up most of my free time. In fact, my clothes smelled like card shops and my fingers were stained with ink from intimate time spent reading "Beckett" and "Tuff Stuff."
Just imagine how many cards I'd have if I had not started rubberbanding my duplicate cards together in groups of 10 to sell at my dad's drugstore for 50 cents apiece. If I would have totaled my earnings, it was probably enough to buy college textbooks my first semester . . . or possibly pay for college entirely.
Fortunately, using an abacus, I was able to total how many cards I still own. I have more cards than Dan Marino has career pass attempts, more cards than Michael Jordan has career rebounds and more cards than Cal Ripken, Jr., Lou Gehrig, A.C. Green and Brett Favre have consecutive games played if they combined all their streaks.
Dad may be in heaven, but now he can see, after counting my cards, I came up with 8,983.
Chris is a Waco, Texas, resident, Editor in Chief of MyBriefs.com, author of the book "Sports Briefs" and the adult writer for the Gab Four. Read more of Chris' solo columns here.