I found a wallet the other day.
While on the train, I rose to walk down the steps towards the door and there it was. A brown, open, face down thick wallet.
I picked it up and kept walking. As I stood by the door I opened it, saw a drivers license and looked to see if anybody in my car looked like the man on the I.D.
I got to the office and quickly channeled Andy Sipowicz, trying to find the owner. After rummaging through several business cards and doing an anywho search of the DL info (no match), I finally located a drug card with a woman's name on it.
The next day a grateful owner had his pocket life back.
I tell the story for two reasons: 1) I can be equally forgetful and 2) You can't assume anything
I think back to a lovely November day during my junior year of college. After a string of chilly times and pinching wind, I woke to a day worthy of t-shirts and shorts. I hopped on my bike and headed off to class.
April comes, and one morning I am looking for my bike. A friend asks, "Do you mean the one parked outside J-school? The one that's been there all winter?"
I snuck out late the next night to retrieve my rusted out, crooked bike with slashed tires. The bike parked parallel to the rack. The one with notes taped in several places with language unworthy of one of our nation's finest Journalism schools.
And no, if one particular author happens to be reading this, my head is upright. Has been for some time, and I can't contort myself.
But I'm forgetful at times. Runs in the family. I have a Great Uncle who was an inventor and patent lawyer. He was part of the Manhattan Project and a brilliant man.
A man who had chemical books on his nightstand but couldn't remember what he had for breakfast.
George Carlin had a routine about what happens when we die. First we pass meet St. Peter, then we are taken to a room which has everything we have ever lost. Several sets of car keys, pens, cell phones, and wallets.
Which brings me to my other conclusion. We can't assume anything.
I have a professional colleague who's daughter recently had a baby with her partner. The kids are "out" along with Dad, who's now a Grandpa. We were talking one day about life and how different attitudes are today. I broke it down simply.
I spend a lot of time in parks, malls and libraries - the union halls of parenting.
When I was a kid (and certainly when my elders were) you could spot a kid, see the adult and quickly conclude that yes, they are related. No need for a DNA test.
Today? Not so much.
When I searched the lost wallet, the prescription card had a woman's name on it. Same last name as the name on the driver's license.
So I called the company on the front of the card. When I reached her I said I had found her son's wallet. "Thank you so much. He's my husband," she replied.
Sipowicz would know better.