Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Costanza Wallet

Strangely all these accessory posts seem to tie to fictional characters and their idiosyncrasies. The Costanza Wallet refers to the character George Costanza from Seinfeld. His wallet was so overstuffed that it caused him to sit lopsided, hurt his back, and eventually exploded.

I am constantly annoyed as a cashier when a man comes up with the overstuffed, disorganized wallet, because, just like the overly large purse, it's impossible to find anything in there. And for some reason this guy is always sure he has a coupon/ gift card/ discount card somewhere in the several forests-worth of paper stuffed into an overtaxed piece of leather. He very well might, he might also have the Colonel’s original list of eleven herbs and spices in there, but they're all useless if you can't find them. And for some reason a disproportionately large number of these gentlemen feel this need to over-organize their cash while standing at the register, further holding up the line of people behind them. To me, getting rid of the millions of scraps of paper in no particular order would seem more important than having your money in sequential order. (Unless that makes the voices stop screaming in your head, in which case, carry on.)

Here are the warning signs that your wallet is perhaps a little too full:
a) Your back pocket where it lives is permanently stretched out on every pair of pants you own. Extra negative points if it's ripped any of your pants pockets off.
b) It causes you to sit lopsided.
c) You have to buy new wallets when the stitching on your current one finally loses the good fight.
d) It takes you longer than 30 seconds to find anything.
e) If the ink on any of the pieces of paper has rubbed off or faded off with time.

And some guidelines for cleaning it out:
a) Any business cards without an email address are now out of date. Remove them.
b) Anything that's expired. If it's been expired for more than five years you may have a wallet hoarding issue. Seek help.
c) Condiments. Never okay. (And I have seen this in real life, not just in the Seinfeld episode)
d) Receipts for things you no longer own. If the return period is over, or the item got so old it fell apart, or the bank statement it showed up on was over a five years ago it's probably safe to let the receipt go. And food receipts – are you planning to return that hamburger you ate a Wendy's five years ago, because I think that's impossible on several levels.

I'm not completely heartless, I have many of these things floating around my life, and I keep them all in a lovely little box on my dresser. (Not condiments. That's still never okay.) That way I know that nostalgic business card from an old friend is still there, but I'm not constantly having to dig past it to get to my debit card.

To make me seem not so mean I do have a happy memory involving a Costanza wallet. One of my best friends in the world carries one, and I do tease him about it, but so far he can locate things in it quickly so I let it go. In 2005 we went to Disneyland together and while waiting in line for the Indiana Jones ride he pulled a card out of his wallet to decode the symbols on the walls of the ride. Those cards were given away for the first few months the ride was 1995. Ten years, and several wallets, later he still had that vital piece of information on his person. The mocking came fast and hard* after that, but those of us who were there still bring it up with fondness whenever we go on that ride. So Buddha, this post is for you and your ginormous wallet.

*that's what she said….

BookWench is currently reading Classics for Pleasure by Michael Dirda - because there's nothing more book-nerdy than reading books about books.

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