Setting out to clean what our fathers always called “billfolds” can be a surprising adventure. I knew it was time when mine started throwing off my posture.
Besides the cash, which wasn’t much, there are also all sorts of club cards for businesses that are not really clubs at all. Yet you cannot enter without a card. It is like the secret handshake.
Here are also plastic reminders that I have paid for membership to be part of acronyms like AAA, AARP and the ASPCA. There are also donor cards from various charities reminding me that it is time to give again.
Then there are real club cards. Every group to which we belong seems to want us to carry our affiliation card in case we need it. We are rarely asked to show any of these cards, but it’s nice to feel like part of an extended family.
The membership cards are like the information cards we carry. These are used for identification.
Besides my driver’s license, I have my birth certificate card (Kansas issues these) and a small card that may be used as identification as a passport. These vouch for me. They attest that I am who I am.
Certainly, it is important to carry your driver’s license, even if the picture does not look like you. Because I keep renewing mine by mail, my picture could be of my son.
In my wallet, I found airline mileage plans from Aer Lingus, Alaska, Alitalia, Air France, Delta, United and two airlines that no longer exist. You might wonder why I have all of these cards. So do I.
Then there are business cards. Where did all of them come from, and why are they here? Wait — there is a phone number on the back of one card, although I cannot remember whose number it is.
Then there is a blank check and credit cards so we can help the economy. These make sense. The old receipt for a gift card does not.
There are other receipts. Did you know that lettuce was 25 cents a head in 1986?
Ah, here are the pictures. How many do you carry? Do any of them picture a loved one not taken 10 or 12 years ago?
It turns out the wallet’s contents can be sorted into two stacks.
First are the things that are actually needed and are of value. The second is larger and contains things acquired but no longer useful or needed.
We should keep the former and toss the latter.
The advertising pitch of “What’s in your wallet?” is not just a philosophical question.
What you carry tells a good deal about you. What you do not carry reveals much, as well.
• Mike McLellan can be contacted by calling and leaving a message at 830-4201 or emailing him at DrMikeM@sbcglobal.net.