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.