Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Keep Your Receipts

Regular check indeed. What the hell was I doing on Thursday, October 1st of last year that I needed three $0.49 turkey sausages, one 'dessert' and a cup of coffee at 9:41am? I should have been at work where these things are not available. So, I'm not sure, I don't exactly recall ordering this, nor having visited the Corner Bistro, but this receipt was there in the thick stack of confetti gathering in my Costanza-esque wallet. So it's clearly the truth.

I've always wondered why I keep receipts, I'm not particularly vigilant against credit-card fraud and I'm not enough of a tactician to want to parse my own paper trail at the end of the tax year for nickel and dime business expenses to write off. But now I understand.

I do it because it reminds me what I've been up to. Much of my own life remains a mystery to me, particularly that which disappears faster and faster with each year into the thickening fog of my past. So like the credit bureaus, or a noble archaeologist digging through the midden of a lost Indian village, I can mine the history of my purchases to uncover clues about my life and hopefully add to the non-ending quest for self-knowledge.

It's almost like looking at old pictures, only far more mundane, filling in the bulk of life between the victories, and thus probably more accurate as to the true nature of things, in that moment some months ago where the need for turkey sausage, some kind of sweet, and a cup of coffee was the imperative of the day.

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