Is The Wallet A Lost Art

Some days, the news media finds it really difficult to come up with news. Of course, that is not always a bad thing, but the major problem with their inability to come up with actual factual news is that they have to make up something. For example, just today it was reported that the wallet would one day become a thing of the past. I’ve never spent many hours pondering on that subject, but just like those folks out in California attempting to do away with the plastic bag, I really don’t see that happening real soon.  

Sure, there are now those who like those tight jeans and a wallet doesn’t work for them, but they are also the ones who are always asking us “husky” guys to borrow a dollar for their special diet waters because we have wallets in our “husky” jeans that you could choke a mule with. My wallet still contains the photo of some good-looking lady who came with the plastic picture holders when I bought my genuine artificial cowhide billfold. She’s not that good-looking anymore due to the imprint of my hunting license stamps rubbing on her face, but she does take up a space. The fact is, I still believe that news story was based on town folks and not those of us who keep a wallet as our mobile office filing cabinet out on the farm.  

My father would clean his billfold out at least once every five years and then he would only change the location of us kids’ school pictures. I still have his billfold and it is the closest thing to opening King Tut’s tomb that you can find. It has feed mill tickets, a rabies shot tag for one of his favorite hounds, special drivers license for operating a school bus, insurance company calendar, Mama’s picture in the front, extra key to the tractor, numerous hunting schedules and four one dollar bills along with a lot of hay chaff. Every item in it was a necessity and he never left the house without it.  

My grandfather was the very same way. He carried his in the button down pocket in the bid of his overalls. I can still see him unbutton that pocket to pull out that dark brown wallet to pay you after helping him with a farm chore. That instrument of financial recording, held close to the heart of the farmer in those days, could report the success of the year’s crop to the tax preparers and could also let you know how well the family budget was doing at the present time.  

Men’s wallets have even been blamed for bad back problems. It is reported by a number of news groups that carrying a wallet in your back pocket can cause sciatica and can harm the lower back. It is suggested that you never sit on your wallet when you drive. A half-inch wallet is all it takes, they say, to cause some major back pain, and now a days, since we have changed out folding money to credit cards, the thickness of the wallet has put a strain on the back as well as the bank account. You can fix that however by getting rid of the jeans and go to overalls like my granddaddy and keep your wallet in the button down bid part. Overalls are more practical anyway. More pockets for stuff and a whole lot less confining.  

With the development of credit cards and smartphones, I guess many of the things we at one time kept in a wallet are now being replaced. I’ve never had my wallet hacked, but it has had to dry out every now and then due to a hard day of work or the occasional rainstorm catching you in the back forty. I do admit my wallet has things in it that only I understand and get enjoyment from. The inside of a man’s wallet IS sort of like King Tut’s tomb. We do store what we consider our treasures in there and if you are lucky, on some days, there may even be some value there.    


Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He may be contacted by e-mail at