THE BLOG
08/13/2007 02:53 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Wallet, I Hardly Knew Thee

I was all set to write a column about how there's nothing much to write about in August. It would have been a disaster. But I wasn't too concerned, since a piddly newspaper column is the last thing anyone cares about in this month in which we're all just going through the motions of life. I figured I could even leave out a word here or and not even my editors would bat an eye.

But then good fortune smiled upon me and I lost my wallet. Instant topic.

Coping With Wallet Loss: The Stages of Grief

-- You realize you've lost your wallet.

-- Your first thought, naturally, is of all those desperately poor people around the world who have never had a wallet and how fortunate you were to at least have had one.

-- You check your pockets several times. Then you stand motionless for a while. Then you go back to checking your pockets. You repeat this process until you manage to put things in perspective and recognize that you're not dealing with a tragedy, unless you're also dealing with a tragedy.

-- Still, you begin to wish you could chuck the whole modernity thing and return to a hunter-gatherer society, or to a cave-dwelling existence, or to any point in that long period of human history known to historians as the Pre-Wallet Epoch.

-- You snap into action and cancel your credit cards. Then you listen to everyone tell you that you should cancel your credit cards.

-- You reflect upon how hassle-free, how quick, how unusually pleasant for an interaction with a cold, large corporation the credit-card canceling process is. Hoping to recapture this feeling soon, you make a mental note to cancel your new credit cards as soon as they arrive.

-- You neglect to cancel your library card. Later, you'll wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of night, shaking uncontrollably as you ponder the possibility that someone may currently be using your account to become very educated.

-- With the police not much help, you hire a private detective. After a couple of days on the hunt, he returns with photos of several wallets, but, unfortunately, none of them are yours. Still, you feel the detective tried his best, and tell him as much.

-- If your wallet was stolen and you had photos of your family in your wallet, you worry that the thief knows who they are. If you didn't bother to carry photos of your family, you worry what kind of person the thief must think you are.

-- You graciously accept the faux sympathy from friends and if your wallet, like mine, was a three-inch-thick George Constanza Special, you also field some nice compliments from co-workers about having lost weight.

-- Someone had to go ahead and mention identity theft, so you begin to worry about that and curse yourself for not having run your wallet through a paper shredder before you left home.

-- You try to get used to walking around wallet-less, but you can't stop worrying about how awkward it will be if someone tries to mug you.

-- You go to get a new license. If you go on a Wednesday afternoon, don't forget your bongo drums! That's the weekly DMV drum circle day.

-- You go to the department store and spend way too much time sorting through a pile of identical leather wallets that always smell a little too leathery. Then you bring six wallets into the fitting room with you. You wait 15 seconds, then leave the fitting room, handing five of them to the attendant while saying, "Sorry, these don't fit."

-- You stuff your new wallet full of cash and as you walk around the city proudly hold it aloft for all to admire.

XXXXX

Mark Bazer can be reached at mebaze[at]gmail.com