I need to replace my wallet.
More accurately, it is a billfold, a name which blandly describes what it does. After years of riding in a dark pocket compressed mercilessly by 200 plus pounds of backside and being opened and closed many times a day, the poor thing has gotten kind of shabby.
It is worn and faded, just waiting to be torn at its flimsy perforation into two foldless bills.
My wallet has a lot of junk in it, and over the years its primary raison d’être—to conveniently carry some cash, a driver’s license, and a few credit cards—has expanded to include Blockbuster membership cards, out-of-date ID cards, faded receipts, business cards, and cryptic notes of things not to forget which I have long since forgotten. Oh, and some lint too.
Raison d’être. It makes my wallet sound pretentious and more important than it really is.
But now is the perfect time to take stock of my life in pockets. Because as the saying goes, you are what you carry. Or maybe it's a saying about eating. I can’t remember. But it still works.
It is the moment to ask myself, what do I really need to take with me when I leave the house every day? Do I really need the bottle opener that has been on my key ring for years? And what exactly do those keys open? And honestly, when was the last time I used this Ronco Pocket Fisherman anyway?
Here is the problem. Pocket real estate is limited and fashion doesn’t take kindly to carrying lots of stuff. Look what happened to cargo pants, pocket protectors, fanny packs, man purses, and Dora the Explorer backpacks.
And try going to the swimming pool. I don’t want to know where you are supposed to stuff a tube of sunscreen wearing nothing but some trunks and a towel.
It turns out that this man stuff dilemma has spawned an entire movement called EDC, which stands for Everyday Carry. EDC is the art and science of deciding what you need to bring with you to survive when you leave the house.
At first blush, I would say that all I need to survive is my wife. She has a purse that I can put things in and is a lot better company than my pockets. She also carries Kleenex and reminds me of what I need to bring with me when I leave the house.
But as I discovered, EDC is a lot more complicated than that.
If you look up the thoughts behind EDC, and there are plenty, you quickly discover that the ten or fifteen things that you carry define your manhood, the very essence of who you are. And you also discover that there is an entire industry catering to slimming down your manly wallet through the purchase of multipurpose tools that combine the ten or fifteen things you need to carry into one or two things you need to carry so that you can load into your pockets another 12 things you need to carry.
But if you ask me, what we really need are bigger pockets. And that is about the only thing that you can’t buy. In fact if you search for EDC clothing online you quickly discover that EDC also stands for Electric Daisy Carnival, a popular Rave event featuring electronic dance music. And you are likely to purchase an acid washed tank top and checkered gym shorts.
Apparently, you don’t need pockets at a Rave event.
For the uninitiated, here are some EDC essentials in need of pockets.
If you are discerning gentleman, which I am clearly not, you should always carry a handkerchief, breath mints, a Montblanc pen, a pocket lighter, and a cigar cutter. And for those living with a wink, a pewter flask for easy access to a slug of Macallan single malt.
If you are a survivalist, which until the zombie apocalypses arrives, I am also not, then maybe you want to pack a tactical pen which can also break car windows and quickly pierce jugular veins. And you must have a multi-tool pocket knife made of black titanium that screws things, pries things, breaks things, cuts things, files things, impales things, and if you can find it on the tool, also opens beer bottles.
And if you are just trying to get through life with a smartphone, then you also need noise cancelling headphones, a charging brick, cables, a flash drive, and a backup plan. And since I have never seen a bottle opener app, you may want to carry one of those too.
So what about me? I went minimalist. I have a slim wallet now. Two keys. And my phone.
Oh, and a bottle opener. Because it defines who I am.