Your Talking Wallet

In the remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the title character is given a wallet by a world famous photographer that he has worked alongside for years.  Inside the wallet is an inscription of the motto of LIFE magazine, Walter’s employer:  “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.” While Walter has worked at LIFE magazine for 16 years, and been confronted with the motto daily upon walking into work, he never internalized it, never lived it.  Something all the more highlighted when another character tells him “listen to your wallet”…

As I sat in the theater twice in one week to watch a film that I wouldn’t normally give the time of day, that admonition to “listen to your wallet” stuck with me.  The more I ruminated on it, the more I realized that wallets talk.  Wallets say things about the people that own them.  Yes, it may be something that conveys a certain style – or lack thereof – but it is more about what is inside, what the wallet contains.

I remember the first wallet I ever bought.  Not so much for the wallet itself, but because it was the same day – in 1997 – that the Special Edition version of the Star Wars Trilogy released on VHS after being in theaters earlier that year (and yes, I bought them).  I still use that wallet today.  The years have come and gone since I bought it, but some of its past and present contents embody wonderful stories.  At one time, this wallet held a neon-green pre-sale ticket stub from an opening night screening of Star Wars Episode I:  The Phantom Menace in May ’99.  Today, in the midst of metro cards, credit and debit cards, a frequent flyer card, and gift cards to restaurants, lies the only restaurant receipts I’ve held on to; two receipts from 2008, handed to me in Oxford, England.  Why hold on to two small receipts for almost six years?  They’re the lunch receipts from a visit to the Eagle and Child pub with my parents – where C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the rest of The Inklings spent time – down the street from Magdalen College, where Lewis taught.

Even though that movie ticket from years ago is long lost, “The Wars” lives on in the recesses of my wallet thanks to someone I don’t know.  A few years ago I spent a day at Walt Disney World in Orlando – specifically Disney Hollywood Studios – intent in riding the re-imagined Star Tours.  While in the park and en-route to the ride, a man I don’t know, and will likely never see again, asked me if I was headed to Star Tours and offered me a fast pass that enabled instant access. How he knew, I’ll never know (no, I wasn’t wearing a Star Wars shirt; it was TRON instead).  That ticket still sits in my wallet over a year later.  I wonder what might end up in the wallet next that carries a worthwhile story.

Capitol One likes to ask “What’s in your wallet?”; I think there is a better query…”does your wallet tell stories worth listening to”?

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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