error reduction

My credit card was stolen today, for the second time in a year; this time much less dramatic than the episode last winter. One of the lessons learned from that experience is the value of building error-reduction systems into your life – what your mom might call good habits. That’s right, I’m talking about your mother.

At approximately 5:00 this evening I arrived at the McGill Gymnasium, swiped my ID through the scanner and entered. I put all my stuff in my locker, exercised, showered, returned to my locker at about 7:30. I flipped open my wallet to check to see if I had any subway tickets, and zap I knew my credit card was gone, and I knew for certain that it was stolen from my locker.

I keep exactly four cards in the front pockets in my wallet, so that the inside of my wallet is perfectly consistent and any alteration of its appearance triggers an alarm, like the reminder you posted on the refrigerator to water your plants that after two weeks becomes an unnoticeable part of your refigerator until someone moves it, making you wonder why your refrigerator looks different. Several times I have walked away from a cashier and was about to stuff my wallet in my pocket when I noticed a card was missing – sitting on the counter.

I opened my wallet to get out my McGill ID, so I know that the card was in my wallet when I entered the gym. My lock, issued by the gym, showed no signs of tampering – that’s right: an inside job. The thieves left everything else in my wallet, including the $55 dollars cash. I thought this was because these were socially conscious, robin hooding thieves who steal from big companies and not individuals (knowing I wouldn’t have to pay for the fraudulent charges on my card). Roy thinks they took only the card to prolong the period where I wouldn’t notice it was gone; these motherfuckers didn’t know they were dealing with an implementer of error-reducing good habits. They call me The Implementer.

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