I reached in to my wallet the other day for some money. I spent a few moments pushing through the receipts and myriad of cards searching for something green. What I found was nothing. Not even a dollar. I question myself as to why I even have a wallet? It’s more of a mausoleum for the receipts, gift cards, and clutter of my daily life more so than actual currency or for anything of value. I decided it was time I take inventory. Figure out what’s in there, what has value, and what I might need to call Waste Management to get rid of.
I informed my wife I was going to be going through my wallet, so please, no interruptions. She looked at me as though I was an idiot but since this was neither the first time nor to be the last time she would give me that look, she complied and left the kitchen. I sat down at my kitchen island and emptied the contents of my wallet out. It wasn’t hard to get everything out, all I did was remove one receipt, like a cork, and the entire front half fell out. The years of over stuffing the sleeves loosened the tautness like a pair of socks that have lost their elasticity. It rained wallet sized items down and flooded the island table.
An ace of spades playing card from college (oh if that card could talk), parking garage receipts I forgot to submit at work for reimbursement, gas slips I forgot to give to my wife to subtract from the checking account, expired insurance cards, active insurance cards, a voter registration card allowing me to vote at Exeter Bible Church in Birdsboro PA, the kids’ photo ID’s I had made 3 years ago, gift cards for movies, restaurants, and Borders (all expired dammit), my driver’s license, ATM card, and my library card.
I start to empty out the plastic picture holder next. I pull each picture from the clear protective portfolio. My kids. My wife. Nieces and nephews and various family members. A black and white picture of my grandfather. My dad. With each picture I pulled out, my mind played my memories. I was in my parents’ house with my dad again. I bounced on my grandfather’s knee. I held my babies and rocked them to sleep. I am trying to impress my future wife on a date in the photo booth at the mall. I pull a Valentine out of the back sleeve. It makes a cracking sound as I pull it from the leather. It’s a Valentine from my daughter. My first “Daddy” Valentine (w/an ‘I love you Daddy’ written by Alicia). There was a funeral card from my grandmother’s funeral. Saint Cecilia. It’s been too long since I thought about her so I hold on to the card for an extra minute. Lastly, I pull out a note from my wife. I’ll spare you the sappy details of the letter but I’ve had it since 1998. The edges are frayed. The red ink she used is faded. But the message is crisp in my mind and it reminds me why I fell in love with her.
I collect everything up from the island and start arranging it back in to my wallet (I told you, if I didn’t pack it full, the stuff would fall out). I left the gas receipts to the side to give to my wife so she can deduct them from the checking account (and so when my she writes the check to the electric company it doesn’t bounce to Mars). I put the pictures away one by one so I can look at them one more time and after getting everything back in its place, I close it. And I’m satisfied knowing, even though money was one of the few things I didn’t have in my wallet, it was still holding a lot of valuables.