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Out of Our Minds
Wednesday, October 19, 2005 9:05 PM
Crisis du Jour
Kevin Salwen on Life

My wallet was stolen yesterday. Oh, sure, I had something to do with it -- I left it on a counter, but the person who wound up with it didn't exactly help me out. Not unless you call using 2 credit cards and a debit card for his own purchases 'helping.' The process that followed (after the searching, reporting to security and finally deciding that I wasn't getting it back) was not unusual in some ways: My wife and I cancelled our credit cards, said adios to about $45 in cash, and wept ever-so-slightly about a gone-forever Starbucks card (OK, maybe no weeping).

But I ended up with 2 lessons I wanted to share:

1) On a downer note, I was an idiot: How did I ever decide to leave items with my Social Security number in my wallet? I had two things -- my driver's license (Georgia uses the SSN as a default number unless you ask for something else) and an old Social Security card that I've kept in my wallet for decades because my 11-year-old's signature looked cute. But having that number in someone else's hands forced me to do all kinds of things I might not have done before: I had to change my bank accounts, alert my broker that I wouldn't be pulling anything out of my account unless I personally called him, and file a report with Equifax to put my credit on a watch list in case the thief tried to establish credit with my number.

2. On a lighter note, though, I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles for a new license. No, I'm not kidding about the lighter part. It wasn't the 45 minutes of waiting or the hapless clerks I'm referring to. It was the very end, in which the woman handed out licenses to about a dozen people, calling out their names in order and handing them their 2x4 strips of plastic.

No one -- and I mean no one -- took more than 2 steps away from the counter before sneaking a peek at their pictures. And the reaction to their driver's license photos was a mixed bag of amusement, horror and self-analysis. You could almost hear 'I look fat,' 'Not bad,' Why are my eyes closed?' or My hair looks good!' It was so much fun to watch, I stayed for another round.

Made me almost forget about the jerk out there spending my money from a wallet with pictures of my kids.


Harold - 10/20/2005 10:11:09 AM
One word for you...dunce. You kept your social security card in your wallet? Dunce, dunce, dunce! If recent news is to be considered as at all factual, there's been quite a bit of identity theft going about and the social security card is the holy grail of things to steal. We don't want to see an 'Osama Bin Kevin' wandering about our streets now do we? Wakey, wakey Mr. Salwen!

Perhaps a chain attached to your wallet may stop this from happening again. It also may give you something of a fashion boost and introduce you to a whole new social group.

Living La Vida Harold.
Curt Rosengren - 10/20/2005 1:18:07 AM
Hmmmm...maybe it was the full moon? People have been just a bit squirrelly.

My car got munched yesterday (around the same time as I was sitting on the porch at Fremont Coffee posting on the Worthwhile blog about places to work away from work, in fact) by someone who was less than skilled at parallel parking. She promptly left the scene. I didn't see it happen, but someone was good enough to follow her, get her license plate number and car description, and leave it on the back of his business card on my windshield.

I'm waiting for a copy of the police report so I can track her down for insurance purposes so I don't have to pony up the deductible for getting it fixed. Blech.

But on the positive side, if that guy hadn't made the effort to give me the info on her car, I would have been out the deductible for sure. Now it's just a maybe.

One bad apple, one good apple. Guess that nets out to about neutral.
Janet Auty-Carlisle - 10/19/2005 10:11:04 PM
Hey Kevin,
Sorry about your luck. You sure do have the right perspective though. If you don't laugh you'd probably cry in these instances! My bad picture story was for my passport. In Canada now you can't wear any corrective lenses...I wear glasses cause I'm cross eyed. (not a pretty sight I'm afraid) You also can't have an oily face...which I have, so they put baby powder all over my face to make it less shiny, you can't have bangs or anything covering up your forehead so they were pushed aside and....to top it all off....you can't smile. I am serious here folks. So, non-smiling, pasty faced, cross eyed, bangs off my face, they took my photo. And it really is awful. I almost don't want to travel cause I don't want to show it. A few days later I had to go out to do some training and was commiserating with a fellow trainee about my horrid picture day. The waiter at our table heard and said 'You ain't seen nothin until you've seen my license photo. ' So, we had a contest on! You show me yours, I'll show you mine.....photos I mean.....He won, hands down...I was not worthy at all. Too bad we can't freeze frame all our good photos and just put them in our wallets! Hope it all goes well my friend.
Living la vida fearless,


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