Winnowing out the Rolodex could mean the end of something, but I don’t know what (and maybe don’t care)



Story and photo by Ronald Ahrens

Every so often, I weed out my Rolodex.

The reason I still have a Rolodex is because of stapling business cards onto the blanks, a good way to match logos with name-o’s.

I first saw this Mandarin system on the desk of Jean Jennings.

Blank cards are getting hard to find. For example, the last bunch came not from a store shelf but the Internet.

And now I’ve run out.

As I look for my doctor’s card, I see the name of a garden tractor salesman from seven years ago at a Pennsylvania flea market. Not that I wouldn’t love to go back. Or the local bartender who offered to wash my windows.

In the photo, you see I selected some to be set aflame (using kerosene, or maybe just the plastic coatings, as an accelerant) and then to be run over by a steamroller.

Reasons for deletion:

  • You moved on, were fired, became disabused of all notions, went on permanent vacay, moldered, retired, drank hemlock with Socrates, called it a day, or otherwise died
  • You never phoned or treated me to lunch, you didn’t pay up, you must be kidding
  • You had a sex change
  • You’re on e-mail, on the Internet, on a bathroom wall, or you posted a card on the hardware store’s bulletin board
  • We will never work together again because you over-edit
  • You dangle modifiers
  • You don’t know that prepositions take objects, even when compounded (for him and me, for crissakes, not “for he and I”)
  • I can’t remember how we met
  • I never believed you worked there
  • Comb your hair and brush your teeth!
  • When I asked if you wouldn’t mind picking up the tip (or else I would’ve had to use my credit card), and you were embarrassed, and said your wallet was in your car because you’d slammed on the brakes and it had slid from your purse—you’re Type A, you drive like a demon, and your car is a leased Mercedes even though you rent a room in Palm Desert—yes, that’s right, when you flounced back in through the wine bar’s front door in your frilly purple minidress and blonde-white hair and heavy make-up, I glimpsed you and wondered how a whore had gotten into such a nice place
  • You drive a hybrid and like to talk about motorcycle accidents


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