Excavating the boxes of random notes in the basement, accumulated over a lifetime of laying unfertilized idea eggs, I found a folder labeled “Sadness.”


The folder itself is in sad condition.  Its lip has been pounded into soft creases by unceremonious boxing and re-boxing.  Within it lies a solitary item.


A real estate business card with a nickel glued to it.  I may have known the realtor.  Too many years have passed for me to be certain.  I am sure, though, that it isn’t the person or the profession that made me sad.  He appears to be a nice and professional person.  Business cards present optimism–hope for business relationships and a successful career.  When I am handed a card, I always envision the opening of the first box of cards, the owner’s sense of accomplishment, maybe a minor celebration when shared with loved ones.


Sure, hope makes me sad, since it doesn’t often lead to the desired result.  Still, I don’t think it’s the hope, exactly, that prompted me to create a folder called “sadness” and make this card its sole inhabitant.  (Maybe I hoped to add more to it).


It must be the nickel.  Did someone tell him that adding the coin would make the card stand out?  That it would increase the chances of him being called?  This must be the case.  That advice is part of what makes me sad.  Thinking that people are telling others to put nickels on their business cards makes my stomach sink  Imagining others taking that advice puts me over the edge–nearly to pity.  The advice giver had confidence in the idea and instilled that confidence in the advice taker.  Yikes.  It’s a nickel.

I’m not saying I won’t try this and start putting nickels on business cards myself.  I’m just saying that if I do, at least one of them will be added to this folder.