Double-secret compartment fallacy
Years ago, I once spent all of my money for a billfold with a secret flap that allowed me to hide some of the bills I carried.
Because I had no folding money left for the regular compartment either, it was some time before I was to try out the hidden one.
I'm not sure what purpose it served because if I lost the wallet, I also lost whatever money was under the flap.
And if someone stole my billfold, they stole the whole package.
People like secret compartments even if they do no good. They make us feel secure.
But security sometimes comes with a price tag. Take Regina's latest purse purchase. She downsized because the old one carried too much stuff and made her shoulder ache.
The new one has compartments. It has them for reading glasses, for pencils, for her billfold, and for assorted pictures, credit card receipts and scribbled-on pieces of paper. And her telephone address book.
It also has one double-secret, zipper-locked, hideaway that is for "eyes only."
The trouble is she forgets about this compartment that is folded in and disguised so it will not be obvious.
Last week, she zipped her cell phone in this compartment. Later she couldn't find the phone.
"Call it," I suggested, handing her the land-line phone.
From the living room, we could hear the faint ring in the back of the house. By the time we got there it had stopped ringing.
"Call it again," I urged. She dialed, and we heard the ring from the bedroom closet.
"It's in your purse," I said.
"It's not," she replied, "I've just taken everything out. It's not there."
I dialed. The purse rang. We searched. I dialed again. It rang again.
"If that phone's not in there we had better take a stick and beat it to death because it's haunted," I said.
"What's this lump?" I asked, making one final survey.
Then she remembered the secret compartment.