A few weeks ago, my wife lost her wallet. This was, in a way, good news. It could have been me.

When my wife lost her wallet, she lost the obvious things — a little money, her driver’s license, several credit cards, a gasoline receipt from February 1973.

Fortunately, she had a small wallet, which easily fit in her purse along with her makeup, her phone, her address book, the other address book, her mini umbrella, her pedometer, her vitamins, a complete set of novels by Dickens, her lipstick, two pens, one pencil, a cauliflower recipe, some cauliflower, and several notes to herself about getting her purse more organized.

This was a major inconvenience, of course, particularly needing to replace the February 1973 gas receipt. Since she was conveniently out of town and completely stranded when she lost her wallet, I was the one who needed to make the calls to cancel all the cards and to ask for a refund for the gas.

My wallet’s a lot bigger than my wife’s, although not with money, except when I intentionally change a $20 bill for singles, so the wallet will look more impressive when it goes to the gym and other wallets will be envious and ask for tips on how to buff up..

After my wife lost her wallet, I looked at my wallet, to see why it was so big and why it has left a permanent bulge in all my back pickets and what would be lost if I lost it. This is what I found:

  • Three small pieces of paper with four different phone numbers on them, and, yes, no names identifying whose phone numbers they were. .
  • Four credit cards for four companies that had gone out of business.
  • Directions to the best bagel place in Tupelo, Mississippi.
  • The name of the second best bagel place in Tupelo, Mississippi. No directions.
  • Two frequent flyer cards for airlines that had gone out of business.               
  • A coupon for 20 percent off on all purchases, except jewelry and dishwashers, at one company that had gone out of business.
  • A newspaper clipping about the ending of the Korean War.
  • My original Social Security card, but with only the number 6 still visible. Of course, that may have been my Social Security number.
  • My student ID, from when I was, in fact, a student.
  • The combination for my combination lock at the gym I used to go to when the stores and the airlines were still in business.
  • An invitation to a Y2K holiday party.
  • And of course, a to-do list that included, at the top, buying a new wallet.