You know about my obsession with stamps. But here's the truth of the matter: my obsession doesn't hold a candle to the hard-core, highly specialized obsession with stamps that some people in the world possess.
As it happens, the American Philatelic Society is hosting its annual convention right here in Omaha. Starting today! Despite that this falls at an insanely busy time, I am determined to go just to see it, more than anything. What does a national gathering of stamp enthusiasts look like? How is a show of this scale different from the smaller, regional shows I typically attend? I'm curious, and if I find a few treasures, even better.
So tonight, I'm perusing the show schedule just to figure out my game plan, when I see the following line item: Penguins on Stamps Study Unit Annual Meeting. It gives me pause. First, it is a mouthful, and a sticky one. Second, is there actually a group of people who get together yearly to literally talk about penguins on stamps? Mind you, the session is scheduled to last two hours. Two hours! To talk about penguins on stamps! Assuming I must be misinterpreting what this is, I keep scrolling. Then, on the next day of the schedule: Penguins on Stamps Study Unit Board Meeting. Hold up, there is a board for this?!
At this point, I google "Penguins on Stamps Study Unit," and this is where it leads:
No joke. I did not manufacture this page just to pull a prank on you. This is absolutely real, and I went, in shocked disbelief, down a rabbit hole exploring this site. See that tab labeled "POSSUM" at the top? That, it turns out, is what members (who number over 100) call themselves, an acronym for "Penguins On Stamps Study Unit Members." By way of explaining this moniker, the website states: "One of the main goals of our study unit is to have fun with our hobby, so using this acronym is one of the fun things we do."
Suddenly my tame versions of fun such as reading in bed in my pajamas or attending stamp shows seem downright WILD.
In case you're now invested in this group, I would like to relay that their objectives are as follows (capitalization their own):
- To Promote the study and collection of Philatelic materials pertaining to, featuring, and depicting, flightless birds of the family Spheniscidae, commonly known as penguins
- Exchange information on matters of the hobby with members
- Encourage Growth of the Hobby