The thought came to me as I laced up my boots: After thousands of crossings, the metal eyelet had worn away the old bootlace’s outer cloth covering, down to its strong inner tough twine center.

Maybe that is what experience does to one’s character: It exposes one’s inner strength. What one appears to be to others may not be the real you.

You are changing with every new experience. So maybe you do not know what you are made of until you age a bit. (On the other hand, if that inner core is made of a less-resilient substance, it will shred and break, usually at a most inopportune time.)

Rather than answer Alec Baldwin’s question, “What’s in your wallet?” ask yourself, “What’s in your eyelet?”

Jack Neely lives and muses in St. Anthony Park.

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