Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon has posed the question.
Samuel L. Jackson, Alec Baldwin, David Spade, Charles Barkley, a bumbling cartoonish Visigoth and even Santa’s elves have asked the question.
Lately, Hollywood actress Jennifer Garner has taken a respite from dealing with her highly publicized family drama to turn toward the camera and inquire, “What’s in your wallet?”
A few weeks ago I was cooling my heels in the doctor’s office and Garner popped up on the TV screen clad in her slinky red dress, strutted runway-style toward the camera, and delivered that catchy punch line for Capital One’s Venture Credit Card pitch.
So, not knowing how long it was going to take the doctor to finish his 18 holes and roll up in his Lamborghini for our afternoon appointment, I decided to actually look in my wallet to see what the heck was in there.
Pulling my bifold out of my back pocket, I found myself marveling at the thought that I even had a wallet. The way technology is progressing at mach speed, it won’t be long before the stuff we used to carry around in our wallets is contained in a computer chip embedded in our ear flaps.
Thumbing through the little dividers, it soon became apparent what is not in my wallet: a Capital One Venture Card.
In its place was a Home Depot card, a health savings account card that the doctor was about to suck dry, and a Disney VISA card. Sorry, Capital One, but when it comes to racking up a few pennies for every grand charged to the Disney card, the Magic Kingdom is going to win out every time. They don’t call it the Magic Kingdom for nothing: Disney has a way of magically separating dads from their dinero.
Also missing was the set of plastic sleeves that everyone used to have in their wallets to hold a small stack of family pictures. The stained, frayed paper pictures that otherwise would be tucked in my wallet are now stored as a collection of cold, sterile, soulless, digital pixels on my cell phone.
More digging revealed a few more interesting items:
• An old voter registration card tattered from wrenching it out during so many trips to the voter’s booth. The card denotes what Congressional, Supreme Court, Appellate Court, Public Service Commission, BESE, Senate, House, Parish Council and Justice of the Peace districts I’m in, along with other information I can’t decipher. Maybe there should be a law that if you’re not smart enough to understand your registration card, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.
• A laminated parent ID card from my son’s kindergarten class at the First Baptist Church. I used to drive my boy to school every morning and I’ll always remember his last day of class there. Without his mom finding out – and probably in violation of some traffic law – I let him buckle up in the front passenger seat. I’ll never forget the look on his face as he sat tall and proud on our way down River Road on the last day before he graduated to Big School.
• A card outlining the 7 Coop Principles, which reminds me of my duty and responsibility to serve electric cooperative members across our state.
• A few business cards for networking purposes, or for jotting down a note when I can’t find a piece of scrap paper. A few years back, one of the digital fads was to exchange professional contact information with a colleague by actually bumping your cells phones together. I don’t see anyone doing that today. Personally, I prefer the old-fashioned paper cards. And like pencils and shoelaces, they don’t seem to be going away soon, despite their predicted demise.
• A Progressive Insurance card for my motorcycle, which indicates I’ve been a “valued member” since 2003. That’s the year I bought a brand-new Suzuki Volusia, which has been running like a top ever since. Just a few days after I brought it home, that bike got christened by my daughter who decided to take a metal rod and whack the front fender. I’m still working through the trauma and one day I might forgive her.
• A SmarTrip pass for the Metro in Washington, D.C. I bought the card during a recent trip to the nation’s capital that coincidentally fell on Veteran’s Day. It was inspiring to see the large crowds at Arlington Cemetery and all the veterans gathering at the various monuments. The Vietnam Memorial Wall was especially packed with veterans bidding each other a hearty, “Welcome home.”
• A sliver of paper with the address and phone number of a very special older couple that I send a flower arrangement to every Christmas. It’s about time to make that annual visit to the florist.
• A business card from L’Hirondelle Restaurant located on the southern California coast. The card was acquired during a memorable trip with my wife back before our two kids started school. These days, any family travel plans are dictated by the schedule of the Livingston Parish School System. And husband-and-wife getaways are restricted to late afternoon walks around the block with the dog. Pecan Creek Subdivision looks lovely this time of year.
• A card verifying my membership in the General Council on United Methodist Men, in which “Every Man Shares in Evangelism, Mission and Spiritual Life.” The card has an expiration date, reminding me that my spiritual walk is a long journey that requires constant renewal and rededication.
The card also reminds me that Christmas is on the way, a time to pause, to push aside the distractions, and reflect on where I’ve failed to live up to my commitments and responsibilities, where I may have succeeded in serving others, how I might improve, and how grateful I am to receive God’s mercy.
So, I have to ask: What’s in your wallet?