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Thursday, Jun. 27, 2002
A bit of online writing that I follow occasionally has the tagline - "The Ceaseless Torture of Adulthood". I think I'd love the author without reservation for contributing that, even if the writing wasn't superb (and it is).

Last night, following a brief interlude of billiards and pizza snacking, an even briefer (more brief?) nap on Stu's couch, and some miscellaneous running about, my wallet turned up missing.

You know, the wallet. The one with the major credit cards. Driver's license, gas card, business cards with important phone numbers scribbled on the back. A couple hundred bucks in cash. That wallet.

Now, if anything, I'm anally scrupulous about wallets. I have the putting-of-wallet-in-hip pocket ritual so ingrained in my psyche that it's possible I might be found patting my rump to check on it even when laid out in a casket. I've never lost one, not ever. Because, well, that's your life in there, in a sense.

I backtracked. I went back to the pizza joint where I'd last used it. "No, sorry dude. No one's turned in a wallet." Retraced my steps to the parking space I'd had, as if magically expecting that a wallet with major credit cards and a wad of cash would still be laying in a parking lot which holds 400 cars, and has untold legions of people walking around in it.

I searched the truck, coming up with many interesting curios and bric-a-brac but nothing like a wallet. Since I'd briefly driven Beth's car, I looked in there. I looked in Ally's car, for God's sake, and I hadn't even been in there. Searched Stu's house, and couch in particular.

Thus commenced the Ceaseless Torture. Knowing that somewhere, some loathsome person was out whooping it up on my dime, filling his car with gas from my Texaco card, buying a whole new wardrobe on my AMEX, and tipping a cocktail waitress something a little more than the mandated 15% with my cash. I went to bed eventually, but lay awake for a while, plotting just exactly how I was restore the identity of Outfoxed come the morn.

You know, the part where you have to go to the DMV and start the day with "I lost my wallet and I need a new license. So that I can drive. Of course I rode my bicycle here, why do you ask?"

And call all the credit card vendors and moan as they relate the purchase history of the past 12 hours or so. "My, Mr. Outfoxed, you certainly were busy. I see where you spent quite a bit of your time in Victoria's Secret……"

So when I woke up the next morning I was aghast to see the wallet lying on the dresser, right where it always does. My jaw bounced audibly off the floor.

Yep, everything in there, even the cash.

As my wife is not one to awaken easily, the mystery took a few more hours to unravel. The explanation fell, naturally enough, to Stu. Who strolled into the shop at 7 am with a grin that suggested a jackass eating briars.

"Got your wallet back, eh?"

"Yeah, I did, how the hell did you know?"

"Cause I'm the one who found it. Shame that I have to keep track of all your loose junk. You ought to be more careful."

"Where? How?"

"Oh, I decided to just think like you. Which isn't all that hard, don't you know. You remember Beth leaving her car over at my house, right? Well, I went out to Beth's car with a flashlight and peered around for a minute, and there it was. Right by the drivers door, pretty as you please, laying right there." Stu was enjoying himself immensely by this point.

I was flummoxed. "Wait a minute. I looked in there. That wallet was not in that car, I'm telling you."

He casually fired up a cigar, blew out a plume of smoke. "Don't know what to tell you lad, you're getting on in years, now. A little touch of the old dementia, you think?" He was patronizing, in a nauseating sort of way.

He had called my house while I was in slumberland, dreaming of dreadlocked wearing hooligans partying the night, and the contents of my wallet, away. Got Ally to come over to his house to unlock the car and pick it up.

So goes the Ceaseless Torture of Adulthood. Now I've got dementia issues.

But my wallet is in my hip pocket. I just patted my rump to make sure.

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