Like you, I carry an assortment of cards in my wallet. Let’s do a little archeological excavation.
The cards I pull out of my wallet the most are, of course, my credit cards. I imagine you do the same. However, in our defense, with the exception of muggers, our digital world can’t seem to be bothered with cash anymore.
The older I get, the more health insurance cards I put in my wallet. I am convinced these cards are actually hazardous to my health, because the more I pull them out, the more medical care I require.
Two of the cards in my wallet strike a deep, irrational fear in my heart, especially when I am asked to pull them both out at the same time.
“License and registration, please.”
Authority figures scare the hell out of me. Ask me for those two cards, and I will immediately confess to anything. Enron? The 2008 Financial Meltdown? Those miracle-fill pillow commercials? Yes! I did it! Whatever it is, I did it!
And then there are cards and other items I never pull out of my wallet. A business card for tub reglazing. An expired coupon for a Jr. Whopper Meal Deal. Various scraps of paper with numbers I don’t recognize scribbled on them. Like it or not, they all have taken up permanent residence between the folds of luxurious, imitation leather.
But of all the cards in my wallet, this is the one that speaks to me the most.
It was given to me years ago by my favorite client and good friend, Ted Ward. When I worked on the Geico account, he never missed an opportunity to fire me.
On Ted’s part, I think it was all in good fun. On the other hand, it could be why Ted handed me the card in the first place. After all, I wasn’t taking any of his verbal cues.
Larry David tells a story about when he was a writer on SNL. He quit SNL in a huff on a Saturday night, had serious second thoughts on Sunday, and then on Monday morning showed up for work as if nothing had happened. It’s a story that eventually became a Seinfeld episode. I have imagined the same scenario happening to me many times in my advertising career.
“What is Bassett still doing here? I thought we fired him.”
“We did. On Friday.”
“Then why is he still here?”
“Nobody knows. He just keeps showing up.”
“Okay. It’s time to get more of those You’re Fired cards printed up.”
I still take out the card that Ted gave me and reflect on it from time to time.
For me, It’s a reminder that living life is my real full-time job, that nothing is guaranteed, and it’s my job to live it the best I can.
Maybe it’s a good reminder for all of us.