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Experts in Stuff Nobody Cares About

Image Credit: Pete Prodoehl, Flickr

There are many interests and hobbies out there. In fact, I’d guess that most people engage in at least one activity in their free time. Also, most of these activities are probably quite normal, ranging from pursuits like weekend softball leagues and cooking classes to more solitary activities like reading novels or collecting trinkets while on vacation.

Every once in a while though, people emerge from the woodwork that undertake different kinds of pursuits – types of pastimes that place them in a very special category, one I like to call “Experts in Stuff Nobody Cares About.” These are people who have an passion for the fringe elements of life; for the minutia that normally gets overlooked; for the exquisite beauty of items and engagements that exist beyond the considerations of the normal world. To their disappointment however, they are the people who, like their pastimes, have a certain part of their lives buried-away by the passive disinterest of others.

Before anyone gets upset, please let me state that I speak from personal experience. I too, live in this place – a place where my hobbies and interests are kept behind closed doors, on basement shelves and expressed in conversation only to those that really, truly know me. From my perspective the hobbies I have are great, after all, who wouldn’t be fascinated with collecting religious paraphernalia or very specific retro video game consoles or the extension of human life through science and technology? The answer, apparently, is almost nobody. I can count on one hand the times friends and family have asked about my Scientology E-Meter, my Atari Jaguar or why I supplement with acetyl-glutathione.

I’m not alone however, as a quick scan of reveals a legion of others, presumably in the same boat.

All items found on

On UsedOttawa for instance, there’s a gentleman who has obviously spent years amassing a fine collection of miniature liquor bottles. Collecting over a hundred bottles, never opening a single one (amazing!) and neatly arranging them in a display case, this fellow takes pride in his pursuit. Sadly, the bottles are now up for sale and in my mind, this is because the booze sat alone. The guy loved his little bottles but with only a whisp of interest from family and friends, that love evaporated away like the liquor inside. Lucky for you though, his mighty collection can now be purchased!

In the prairies, the discovery is made that deep in the heart of Regina, lives a handful of people so passionate about “Foosball, Fooseball, Foozeball, Foozball” that they came together to both start a club and run how-to-play clinics. They advertise on UsedRegina and I hazard to guess that if this was thirty years ago, they would have never met one another. Foosball, as it seems, would have been relegated to basement matches between siblings.

Victoria is a hive of activity for “Experts in Stuff Nobody Cares About.” There are many unique people and pastimes but one that struck me as excellently peculiar on UsedVictoria is a group called the “Professional Organizers in Canada.” People so passionate about home and workplace organization that they’ve reached-out, found others and created an entire organization (pun intended). While the subject of organization is an important one and not a new concept, I still bet they have a hard time introducing organization as a hot topic during dinner parties. Thankfully, through the power of technology, they are more easily finding others to share their passion.

Still in BC but hunkered down near Vernon, is someone I can only imagine is a retired Navy-officer-turned-grandfather. This hobbyist has put together a massive, wall-filling collection of cigarette lighters and not just any lighters but specifically, Navy themed lighters. The photo on his UsedVictoria Wanted Ad, while awe inspiring, might also speak to a solitary hobby. Anyone with a collection that unique probably yearns for the day when someone, perhaps a grandchild, says: “Please, tell me about your lighters.” While that day may or may not come, rest assured that he probably connects with other lighter enthusiasts during his adventures on the world wide web.

So here’s the message, at least the one I take away from all of this: the scene for us “Experts” really is changing. No longer are we relegated to the fringe; to the outlying world of pastimes. Sure our friends and family still might not show interest, but others do and the internet has become the great equalizer. Sites like Facebook allow us to chat and strategize with fellow hobbyists, blogs provide knowledge-bases for expanding our own understanding and engagement and through sites like, we are able to physically acquire the knick-knacks of our dreams, as well as meet up with others that “think we’re pretty neat too.” And best of all, these services don’t cost a thing.

How about you? Do you have any unusual or wonderfully bizarre hobbies?

Having lived on both coasts and smack-dab in the middle of the prairies, Mark believes himself to be quite the well-rounded Canadian. That being said, he sure does struggle with appropriate regional diction. Remind him again: Is it pronounced scallop or skahllop?

14 Responses to “Experts in Stuff Nobody Cares About”


I collect guinea pigs, and nobody cares about that – so I can relate. Great piece!



    Small world. I also have four guinea pigs… and yes, as you might suspect, nobody cares about that hobby either! lol. Thanks for sharing.

    Amber R Bosma

    You guys both collect guinea pigs?! Not that I care. 😉

Brooke Takhar

The more random the collection/interest the more you FREAK OUT when you meet someone who shares that interest. Me – I’m obsessed with the artists James Jean and Chris Ware. Shelves full of art books and graphic novels and if you want to look at them that’s fine. The box of rubber gloves is right over there.



    “box of rubber gloves is right over there”… lol. Yes, totally. I get that 100%.


    BTW… the James Jean paintings of solo women are amazing.


I suppose if I collect anything it’s clothing and accessories. I’m always on the search for beautiful and unique patterns and textures to add to my already busting-at-the-seams closet. I just can’t help myself when I see purses that look like they’re made out of your grandma’s couch. What fun!



    Couch purses? Keep them away from the hipsters… save them for a daughter or niece. They will be epically mind blowing in 20 years.


My problem is I collect EVERYTHING!! Someone once suggested this might be hoarding rather than collecting but what do they know 😉



    It’s only hoarding if you don’t use the stuff you’re amassing. Ask me how many times I’ve played my vintage video games… *shifty eyes*


I don’t collect anything weird or usual but I really did enjoy reading your post and feel good to know if I do start something or of the ordinary, I probably won’t be alone 🙂



    A converse article could totally be written about people with absolutely zero hobbies, collections, weird fascinations, etc. The people who fear the question: “So, whaddya do with your free time?”


It’s funny that you should mention the group of organizers based out of Victoria. My mum lives on the island and is one of the most organized people I know. She should join that group! She has organized many a kitchen belonging to someone else (mine included). She can look at any situation and make suggestions that will make it function better. I guess she is a rare person but I sometimes those rare skills/interests are the best.



    How’s your organizational skills? Did you have to rebel as a child? Escaping the rigidity and structure by being a total slobitarian?

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