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Maybe I was in my early teens when my mother spent $100 on the best Schwinn bicycle you ever laid eyes on. It was the late 50s or early 60s, and the bike was all silver and black with a headlight, generator, spring-loaded rack in back, fat tires, fat seat, streamers, a speedometer, and a horn inside the tank that fit inside the front crossbars. It was my pride and joy, and there was no way I would let anyone else ride it, let alone touch it.

After I graduated from high school in 1964, I was introduced to the Beatles, and I started collecting records – you know, those old-fashioned things that you played on a turntable. As with my bike, not only did no one else touch my records, I didn’t even play 99 percent of them.

violinNow then, I see that a young lady musician is playing a 1717 Stradivarius violin.  It is owned by a rich banker, Jonathan Moulds, who collects such things and then loans them out to qualified musicians.  Quite a trusting fellow, when you learn this particular Strad – named “Gariel” – is worth $10 million!

The lady playing the Gariel right now is Nicola Benedetti, who is currently on tour.

So there is quite a difference between my desire to keep things pristine, and Mr. Moulds who wants his instruments to sing.

He is the better man.

What good is a $10 million dollar anything, if it molders away in a display case.  The thing would probably fall apart if it was left alone.  Can you imagine picking it up after it spent 300 years in a violin case, and have it crack into pieces in your hands.

I really think it is a far, far better thing to play the treasure instead.

As for my bike and my records?

Hands off.

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