I just bought a new wallet. Or, maybe we could say that I was just forced to buy a new wallet because Marianne got a good look at my old one and gave me one of those looks that husbands get sometimes. You know, the “Who in his right mind would keep a wallet that looks like that?” kind of look.
A new wallet, of course, requires being filled with stuff from the old wallet. A process which I last enjoyed some time in the early 1990s? It is kind of amazing the stuff
a guy an old guy a packrat can keep in a wallet, and how the stuff builds up like silt in the bottom of a harbor. So I will concede that it was time for a good dredging. What did we find?
There were at least three debit cards from accounts I no longer have. We all know why this is – you don’t just throw a card in the trash. It must be cut up. Therefore you have to have some scissors (or a big paper cutter) handy when you have your wallet open. Which is not often. In fact, it clearly has not happened in about ten years. Can you just throw them out when you no longer remember when those particular bank accounts were closed? Maybe not, so I’ll just set them down here . . . .
A prescription for my eyeglasses from 2009. I don’t know when I decided that optical prescription needed to be in a wallet. Maybe it’s the way I was raised. Just like you never go out without a coin for a phone call, you never know when your glasses may get run over by a bus and you will immediately have to grope your way to an optometrist and triumphantly hand him your prescription, so you can walk out with a new pair of specs. This has never actually happened to me. Or to anyone I know. I guess we can toss this one – it’s time for a new prescription anyway.
Bar association and other cards from professional organizations from several years. It was always just so easy to slide a new one into the space than to throw out the old one first. As I think about it, none of those cards has actually accomplished anything. My annual card certifying that I am of good standing with my state Supreme Court has never needed to be flashed to anyone. It certainly won’t get me past any courthouse security – there is a different card for that. Still, I have those days where it is good to get a little professional affirmation, so the Good Standing card will make the cut.
There were health insurance cards from at least three different companies that no longer insure my health. Well, we all know those companies don’t insure our health, they just beat the doctor’s billing staff with a lead pipe until they cut the price in half – and then make me pay almost all of it. Don’t get me started on health insurance. I remember thinking about these cards when I would get a new card – Do I get rid of the old one? No, I decided, because what if I need to deal with a straggler claim from last year? See, that old “Raised By Germans” thing still affects me. Because we must not rely on finding any claims paperwork to deal with these things – better to remain ever-ready by keeping that expired insurance card in the wallet. And in case you are wondering, no I have not actually had to handle one of those cards after the policy expired. So, out they go. As much as I hate throwing away something that cost so much to get.
A fun find is a memento from one of my kids. When he was in second grade, one of my children took the most horridly awful but hilarious school picture. He remembers being told to smile, and he was never terribly good at forcing those. What resulted was a look hard to distinguish from abject fear. Perhaps I need to ask what would have happened had he not smiled. We got the proof of the photo, had a good laugh, arranged for a re-take, and all was well for sending school pictures to the grandmas. But this one year kids were issued an ID card (for a second grader? Really?) and it used the original picture. I still laugh out loud every time I see it. I am laughing now just thinking about it. That one absolutely goes into my new wallet.
One thing that did not make the cut was my old pilot’s license (which I wrote about here). I last flew an airplane in 1988. The license reminded me of my accomplishment and that I could renew my relationship with flight any time I wanted, but I had to admit that I could still do that even without my old license in my wallet. That one went into a drawer. But not into the new wallet.
The last thing, and the one that kind of surprised me, is how I had to think about pictures. When I chose my wallet I noted that there were none of the little clear plastic things for photos. “What will I do without pictures in my wallet?” I asked myself. My answer kind of surprised me – I have an unlimited number of pictures available in my phone – why do I need to restrict myself to six or so little old snapshots that almost never get shown to anyone? Those will be scanned and will become part of my phone stash. But they will no longer be in my wallet.
It goes without saying that the new wallet is much thinner than the old one was. It still carries the drivers license, the credit cards and the other frequently-used things like the card the supermarket demands that I scan in order to give me the sale prices it touts on the store shelves. And a current health insurance card. But as before, there is little-to-no-cash in my new wallet. The health insurance company sees to that.
Photo by the author.