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Jon Mark Beilue column - Posted November 21, 2016 1:56 p.m.
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Artwork by Andy Chase Cundiff

The horrors of hip-hugging hoarding

There was a time that when I got holes in my pants, they were the ones the sizes of half-dollars on the knees of my jeans. But I was 10 years old, and the reason was backyard football, baseball, pro wrestling or whatever activity kept me out of the house.

Now, as an alleged adult, I still get occasional holes in my pants. These are the size of dimes on my back right pocket. The reason is obvious.

Fall Wallet Syndrome.

This has been an affliction all of my life. I literally carry enough leather for my own cow in my back pocket. So the size of it starts wearing on my khakis as my poor, oversized wallet tries to break away to freedom.

That’s why I’m never critical of a woman and her heavy purse. I have no room to talk. I’m a pat rack of the worst order and it starts on the right cheek of my rear end.

It’s not that I necessarily want to have a fat wallet. I find nothing particularly attractive about lugging a wad of cowhide around, but it’s a sickness. I downsize, and it works for a while, but I’m not strong enough to withstand hip-hugging hoarding addictions and soon enough I’m back to carrying a load on my butt.

A few years ago, a friend called me on it. Call it a billfold intervention. Look at yourself, he said. What are you doing with your life? What about the people you’re hurting? Have you no pride?

He pulled out a nice slim shiny money clip with the highest bills wrapped around the smallest. OK, what about your driver’s license? It had a little holder for it, attached to it like a key chain. He kept it all in his front pocket. He didn’t even have a wallet.

OK, what about my Hastings Entertainment Passport? What about my three insurance cards, two of which are outdated? Where do I put my three Starbucks gift cards with a combined 97 cents on them, or my Pei Wei gift card with $2.27 on it?

Explain to me where I’m supposed to put my fake Barney Fife driver’s license, or the Top Golf membership card of which I’ve been once in my life and may not go again, or my Sport Clips touchdown card for my once-every-60-days haircut?

He just stared at me and walked away.

Taking a ruler to my wallet, it’s two inches in height. Here’s the inventory:

One ATM card, one Visa card, three Starbucks cards, three AAA cards, one Top Golf card, one Met Life dental card, one Regal Crown Club movie card, one Globe-News ID badge, one Globe-News travel card, one Discover card expired by three years, and one American Express card.

There’s also one Dick Bivins Stadium press card, two United Healthcare cards, one Barnes & Noble gift card, the Hastings membership card, one Pei Wei card, eight business cards (six of which I have no idea who the person is), six of my own business cards, one Southwest Airlines reward card, the Sport Clips card, mine and Barney Fife’s driver’s licenses, one CareXpress card, one Cliffside Coffee card, a Social Security card, an inspirational “One Solitary Life” card with a portrait of Jesus on the front, and a Beach Boys concert ticket from 1982 as a reminder of a girl who stood me up on a date.

Oh, and $17. And, so I ask you, what can possibly be thrown away?

Yet, I know something must. If I’m wearing jeans, it can be like sitting on the side of a hill – a rocky hill.

It’s a serious issue among men, many of us silent if not somewhat tilted sufferers. Men’s Health magazine recently had an article, “Why a Fat Wallet Causes a Bad Back.” It talked about the sciatic nerve, about pelvis tilt and stress on the spine. A man might as well shovel snow for two hours as to have a fat wallet.

Then askmen.com tried the shameful, yet helpful angle. A fat wallet, it said, was also the sign of a disorganized man. After I read it, I was convinced a bulging billfold was the early sign of a serial killer.

But, oh, there’s help. Kiril Stefan Alexandrov has developed something called “The Big Skinny,” a wallet designed to streamline a man and his back-pocket junk pile.

This is no As Seen on TV™ stuff. Alexandrov is a former winner of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Entrepreneurship Competition. But it’s $49.95, so that’s out of the question.

I’ll just have to do this myself. Noah Coughlan and your “Run for Rare: Every Life Matters” business card, you’re outta here. Not bad. I feel lighter already.

by Jon Mark Beilue

Jon Mark Beilue is an award-winning columnist for AGN Media. He can be reached at jon.beilue@amarillo.com or (806) 345-3318.
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