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.