How Has What You Need to Leave the House Changed?

Looking forward and back at Adam Sandler’s “Phone, Wallet, Keys”

Times really do change. Just think about it, how differently did you grow up from the way your parents and grandparents did. Pretty wild. How did they make it without Google and calculators? Throughout all the stories we’ve been told from Aunt Barb at Thanksgiving, things were pretty damn different, but similarities withstand nonetheless. Similarities like the basics, looking both ways before crossing the street, ladies first, and never leaving the house without your wallet. For a good long while it was just “wallet, keys,” then, like the man says “phone, wallet, keys,” but lately a bit more complicated.

But humans adapt, we invent, we develop, and we grow.  Over the past five decades, we have seen some big changes and some minor ones, from the volume of our hair to what necessities we bring when leaving the house.

The ’80s: Keys, Wallet, Walkman

When you were finished applying Aquanet or hair gel and ready to go break dancing or to the arcade, you must make sure you have your fanny pack on, keys in there, and Walkman in hand. You have your leg warmers in your car, just in case.

The ’90s: Keys, Wallet, Pager, Tamagotchi Egg

You had the Internet by now, or as your mom called it “AOL” (remember your AIM screen name?). Before heading out to grab a VHS from Blockbuster, grab your wallet, maybe a chain for it, and your pager. Slap a slap bracelet on your wrist, put your new CD in your Discman and grab your Tamagotchi. You have to keep a close eye so you don’t have to deal with the pain of seeing it die.

The 2000s: Keys, Wallet, Flip-phone

It’s like living in the future. Or at least a Hype Williams video. No way you were leaving the house without your tiny backpack purse, your Razr, Sidekick or flip-phone and then maybe, just maybe your original iPod. Your Nintendo DS might be in there somewhere and you plan to Heely around the mall later.

The 2010s: Phone, Wallet, Keys

Things didn’t end in 2012 (but Nic Cage made a movie about it). Streaming, social media, not-plastic bags, and Amazon Prime. All you need to leave that house is your “Phone, wallet, keys,” as Adam Sandler once wisely said. Cars are Bluetooth now, you don’t even need an aux cord. Finally the phone has ascended to the top of the holy trinity. All this happened in only 10 years?

2020: Phone, Wallet, Keys, Mask

Although there was a period when you didn’t leave your house at all (but at least you had Tiger King), when you did again, you added a couple of things to the repertoire. Now, when you do go out (and if you are on the West Coast sometimes the sky looks exactly like the sky in Blade Runner), you grab your phone, keys, wallet, mask, hand sanitizer, possibly a couple pairs of gloves and probably your AirPods. You might or might not be smiling when you are out there. Who’s to know?

Your wallet has stuck by your side through all your Tamagotchi funerals and the world’s tech advancements. Wallets can be whatever you want them to be, even just cash in a paperclip. Maybe consider upgrading to the phone-wallet. One less thing to remember. Kind of. You can find some pretty cool ones at