Senior Citizen’s Over-weight Wallet Requires Action



Published March 5, 2009

Every now and then, like most other senior citizen men I suppose, I get frustrated with the weight of my wallet and resolve to prune its contents.

The weight is not from excessive currency — which I gave up carrying around years ago — but rather from plastic and paper membership and identification cards and other “important” notes of things to remember which I tend to forget.

I’m always surprised to discover those bits of personal memorabilia still housed within a leather (or leather-like plastic) folding contraption called a man’s wallet and transferred from rear pocket to rear pocket (and to the occasional inside coat pocket) for years without end — amazingly without being lost.

After recently dumping the contents of my miniature file-cabinet onto the kitchen table, I discovered my treasured Miranda Warning card carried with me for years — just in case I needed to remember what it said.

Next to that card was a couple of old voter registration certificates. One was marked Republican, one was marked Democrat and one wasn’t marked. I guess I forgot to vote that year. I wonder if they have a “Libertarian” mark for those certificates?

Then I found my 1998 NAACP membership card. I thought for sure that would be followed by my VISTA Volunteer card from 1966. It wasn’t. I wonder where that could be. But, my John Birch Society membership card was there.

One of my favorite cards is my library card. Actually, I have two. One for the local public library and one for the local university library. I pay a small fee each year for access to the university’s library which is open on Sundays as well as being open every other day of the week. The public library is closed on Sundays. Maybe the public’s books just need more of a rest.

I have two credit cards in my wallet. One I use because they give me a reward of “cash-back” just for using their card. I never let the balance go beyond 30-days so I treat it like a discount card. The other credit card has no user fee and is seldom used. It’s just “there” in case of emergency. What kind of emergency — I have no idea. Maybe I should attach a note to it saying “In case of emergency involving my demise, use this card very quickly!”

A few years ago, a national building materials business gave me a gift certificate for $50 just to try out their card. That seldom-used card is still in my wallet. I felt guilty the other day and spent $1 on a piece of wood that was in their “trash” bin. They charged me 8-cents in sales tax for my guilt trip. That’s the last time I’ll donate to the sales-tax cause. But, I went ahead and used their credit card for the purchase just to let them know that I’m thinking of them.

A couple of years ago I purchased a new American-made truck knowing that it would last me well into retirement — or so I thought. If this manufacturer becomes a mere footnote in Detroit’s automotive industry history, as it looks as if it might, I will at least be able to use my never-used roadside assistance card to tow me to a shop that will no longer be able to find repair parts for my “heavy duty” truck.

That leads to my next card — a debit card which I use now in place of a check book. I’ve used that debit card for several years now without any problems. However, I always wonder each April 15 if the Internal Revenue Service still requires copies of “canceled” checks to support claimed deductions. If so, I’m now in deep debit!

A quick check of my driver’s license shocked me when I discovered that I had “expired” last year — no one told me!

Unfortunately, there’s at least another dozen or so plastic and paper identification and other cards that need to be carefully culled which should result in significant wallet weight loss.

And, that doesn’t even begin to describe the numerous notes (mostly written on the backsides of various paper business cards) that provides more confusion than clarity whenever I review those carefully written inscriptions.

Every important set of numbers, passwords, user-names, lock combinations, etc. having to do with my past and present life are inked onto the backside of any number of wrinkled and worn business cards found within the contents of my wallet.

Heaven help the poor identity-theft schmuck who finds and/or steals my wallet and attempts to decipher my secret codes designed to keep my personal information confidential.

I have twenty-three user-IDs and passwords encoded on my “cheat-sheets” … but I can only remember about 12 Web sites where I actually need them … and few clues as to what codes belong to which sites.

The most important thing that I want to remember regarding these important numbers is who the idiot was who gave me the “advice” to never use the same user-ID and password for different Web sites/accounts.

Just give me the name and location of that person and the name of a good defense attorney! At my age, I’m lucky to remember my full name and social security number! How could I possibly remember — well, whatever it was I was just talking about.

When I’m done with this pruning process, maybe the next time I go to the doctor’s office I won’t get that strange look from the nurse taking my weight when I ask her if it’s alright to remove my shoes “and my wallet” before I get onto the scale.

© Grafe is a former managing editor of the Seguin Gazette Enterprise.

Dead Senior Citizen Age 120 Speaks Out About Stimulous Vote!


Published February 26, 2009

This past weekend scientists recorded serious seismic activity along the San Andreas earthquake fault near San Francisco.

The reason for the lack of news coverage was because the seismic event was actually my grandfather rolling over in his Bay Area grave when he heard about the “Stim-U-Lose” votes in both the U.S. House and Senate.

My Grandpa Ted has been somewhat quietly minding his own business at his comfortable California gravesite for over 45 years now — that is until this past Friday the 13th when his fellow countrymen in Congress crossed the line with their nearly $800 billion red-letter boondoggle stimulus package votes.

Meet my grandpa … Theodore Joseph Grafe. Age 75 when he departed his Santa Cruz retirement home in 1963 to take up his semi-permanent residence in the perpetual care section of Sacred Heart cemetery near the city by the bay.

He had worked for both the Oakland Tribune and the San Francisco Examiner during economic friendlier times for those big-city newspapers. He was a private-sector businessman at heart.

“Those government jobs are all dead-end with no benefits and no future” he’d tell me.

“Serve your country if you’re called to do so” he’d say. Then he would quickly add “Then hurry up and get back to real work.”

His only brush with government work was serving in both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Naval Seabees during both world wars. He believed that America was the greatest country on earth and that the Constitution was a sacred document that always needed to be protected and defended.

Grandpa Ted and I had a “chat” the other night … well, of sorts.

After the majority of Congress had voted in additional debt during these dark days of our current economic depression, I had to ask my Grandpa what his thoughts were — as a “senior” senior citizen. The immediate impressions that I received left no doubt that Grandpa was hacked off.

As an unrepentant senior citizen of 120 himself, he asked a number of rapid-fire questions in my mind’s eye — questions that might come from senior citizens half his age today.

“Why would you take on more debt when it should be obvious to everyone that it was irresponsible debt that created most of the economic problems for the country in the first place? Why don’t you stop the credit and most other spending until you get a handle on your own personal income and expenses?”

“Who are these people running the country? Did you really vote them in? Do you actually have an economic, social and moral death wish? Do any of these guys and gals pay their taxes?”

“Let’s see if I understand this correctly. You’re going to spend trillions of dollars on new make-work jobs for people to do because you have nothing else for them to do and you’re going to push the financial bill for all of this onto the next couple of generations — because you really love your kids and grandkids?”

“And this new bill actually encourages people to be paid for not working since the increased unemployment and health benefits will be so great? I guess the mortgage debt forgiveness is also great for those who chose not to pay their bills as they agreed to? But, what about all those people who worked really hard to pay their mortgages and other payments on time each month? I didn’t see any reward for them in this spending fiasco. What’s up with that?”

“You’re actually going to have a union to represent illegal aliens? Really? No … you’ve got to be kidding me. If legal citizens are out of work, the new bill makes it easy for illegals to keep their jobs and to just keep on being … well … illegal? That’s nonsense! Send them all back home where they belong!”

“Are you really going to keep up the foreign aid payments to nearly 150 countries—many of whom really don’t like America? That’s almost as stupid as bailing out Wall Street, the auto-makers in Detroit and Barney’s banks!”

“And, what do you expect senior citizens to think about the so-called ‘managed’ health care provided for in the bill which will take many of their medical-care decisions away from doctors? Which White House expert will those critical care and prescription decisions fall to?”

Grandpa also mentioned that he had “peeked” recently and there’s really not very much gold left at Fort Knox. He also wanted me to explain to him and to his senior citizen buddies with families still alive in America just how I could justify the shenanigans of the federal reserve system, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

I had to admit that none of the crooks who caused those financial shenanigans are presently serving time behind bars. I explained that many of them are serving time in Congress instead — inside the government worker castle walls — with extraordinary pay and benefits hardly affected by the present economic downturn!

Before our communication ended, he wanted to make sure that I was personally out of debt, that I had plenty of food storage and that I was prepared to be self-sustaining and self-protecting for both short and long periods of time in the near future.

I assured Grandpa Ted that he had taught me reasonably well … that I was holding tight to my Bible and my guns … but, that I still had much to learn and do. I also asked him to cross the aisle and put in a good word for us “all” if he happened to bump into anyone special — up there.

© Grafe is a former managing editor of the Seguin Gazette Enterprise.