Remember in We’re No Angels when they first start pretending to be monks and Sean Penn’s (or maybe it was DeNiro’s and I have it backwards) character is panicking a bit because he doesn’t even know how to cross himself? And DeNiro says something to the effect of “it’s easy, just remember spectacles, testicles, wallet, and watch?”
Never having been Catholic and therefore never having learned to cross myself, I thought this was useful information. Though the only practical use I’ve had for it was on the handful of occasions in my life when I’ve entered a Catholic church and wanted to avoid having holes burned in my chest by the glare of the old Italian woman who spends six hours a day there praying for the soul of her Mafioso son.
Being quite absent-minded, however, I do have practical use for a similar routine, which I use to check that the four elements are in my pockets before I leave the house: chapstick, wallet, keys, and phone.
Anytime I deviate from my routine, dire consequences may result. For instance, this morning I didn’t drive to work (Rachel picked me up from work on the way to Boise for the weekend—my car stayed in the parking garage). So I rode my bike to a point along Mark N.’s commute and caught a lift with him.
Since I don’t typically take my wallet when I go for a ride and therefore didn’t check for it until it was too late, the wallet got left at home. And since I didn’t pack a lunch, I had no wallet and no food.
A little before 1:00 I realized I wasn’t going to make it through the day with no food. A search of my car yielded ninety-seven cents in the ashtray and a salted nut roll in the glove box.
Blowing nearly all the cash on a 44 ounce diet coke with negative nutritional value probably wasn’t the wisest move I’ve ever made, but old habits die hard. If the 240 calories in the nut roll prove insufficient, there’s always microwave popcorn in the break room.