(Four days ago, I tested positive for COVID-19 and have been quarantined from the outside world. One of the eventual side effects of this isolation happens when you start talking to random objects in the room or house. As a card collector and investor, there was nothing to stop me from, you know, talking to my cards…)

Donruss Optic, I love you! I’m so glad you’re back and finally giving us some Blue Velocity love with last year’s crop of Cade, Scottie, Evan, and Bones!”

“You’re so much better looking than all of those paper cards, and you have that classic ‘Rated Rookie’ symbol that’s meant to so much to me over the years. And those unusual parallels and MY HOUSE inserts and how you make Lime Green work on a card – you’re awesome!”

“But you’re not perfect, bro. You’re always a bit off. Off-centered like the Zion rookie my kid pulled from you that was like 80/20 to the left and worth nothing. Off-brand like you’re not really Donruss and you’ve always got a hidden dimple or print line. Off-schedule this year! What’s your deal, Optic! I hate you!”

“Just kidding.”

“I don’t want to admit it, but your Pink Hyper and Blue Velocity are two of the best looking cards in the history of chromium. Seriously. How do you do it? Each year, Blue Vee crushes the color match grail with Ja Morant Memphis, Anthony Edwards Minnesota, and now, you’ve got my man Cade Cunningham rocking the blue Pistons jersey? NOICE.”

“Optic, I love that I can actually afford to hang out with you. Cheaper than Prizm, cheaper than Select (usually), and shorter-printed than Mosaic and the others, you’re a great hang.”

“But the timing thing… I can’t get past it. You opened last week and I watched some sweet breaks with Packman and Layton. Even Geoff Wilson held you in his arms – such suspense with that rookie auto in the last pack! Your opening week theatrics, however, would have been FAR BETTER with Paolo, Jaden Ivey, Chet, and all the REAL ROOKIES – did you know it’s 2022 already?”

“Sheesh, another Panini release a year late, and I’m supposed to get excited and rush to Hobby Boxes? Can’t we call them “Last off the Line” this year?”

“F’real, Optic. I love you and I hate you. You’re affordable, attractive, and retain some of your value every year, but TBH I’ve already moved on. I’d rather not pay inflated opening day prices for wax and the suspenseful chase for Day’Ron Sharpe autos.”

“Oh, and tell your friends Select and Mosaic to hurry up and get it over with already. These rookies – and this Hobby – deserves better.”

Note: Though I’m starting to feel better, I might still show symptoms once in a while, like talking to my cards.