My credit cards have been stolen

MY credit cards have been stolen.

According to ritual I should be panicking.

I should spend a few frantic hours ringing financial institutions and alerting them to the possibility that my accounts might be illicitly drained of funds.

There are two reasons I won’t be doing this: I don’t want to make them laugh; and although I call them credit cards, they’re really only little plastic rectangles.

Until last night I had a credit card wallet in my trouser pocket that was so fat it felt like a groin tumour. But there was only one credit card in the lot.

Among the treasures the thief will have acquired is an organ donor card, a library card, a British social security card issued in 1963, a Medicare card, business cards from people I don’t remember, and a shopping list.

The credit card will only cost him money, as it’s in the red, and the British welfare system is so stuffed that if he presents the social security card they’ll ask him for a donation.

He could borrow a lot of books on the library card, of course, and he’d better not have an accident or the donor card will see to it that a lot less of him gets buried than got born.

And my wife forgot to add coconut milk to the shopping list, if it’s not too much trouble, while you’re trying to use the credit card…

I don’t know how I came to have all these bits of plastic.

I remember when they were heralded as the answer to carrying cash. But I still carry cash. As for the rest of the cards – I use them to level the legs on restaurant tables.

It’s worth remembering that financial institutions and stores don’t issue plastic cards for our sake – they do it so they can keep a record of our association with them.

I got a birthday card from a store last week. Did I think: “How thoughtful!”?

No. I thought that some machine had generated a birthday card that found its way into the automated mail system without contact with a single human being.

Anyway, I’ve just remembered my cards weren’t stolen at all.

I did wonder how anyone could have got their hand in my pocket and removed an object the size of a cricket ball without me noticing – or at least without me enjoying it.

But the users will get more value out of them than they could by trying to buy things.

My bloody cards are still propping up a table leg in a city restaurant.