Sometimes it takes a near death experience to realize what is important in life and what isn’t. Such was the case of Ted Beneckey in Contents of a Dead Man’s Pockets. In the beginning, Ted was more focused about his future promotion, rather than his wife. By the end of the story Tom goes through a change of character and becomes a better person, realizing that his wife is more important than anything else.
At the beginning, Tom wants to go out to the movies with his wife Claire, but he believes that working on his yellow paper, which is related to getting a promotion, is more important. Yet when he “holds her close and smells her perfume,” before she goes, he is tempted to go with her. In the end, he decides to stay home to work on his paper so that he can become “the Boy Wizard of Wholesale Groceries.” By staying home Tom is more concerned about his future than spending time with his wife.
The start of Tom’s near death experience starts when he leaves the door open and the current blows his paper out through the window, and onto a ledge. He realizes that “the work could be duplicated. But it would take 2 months to do so.” He starts to make excuses and believes that he will abandon his work and go out to the movie. But then he thinks about himself going out on the ledge and getting the paper. He “Imagines himself describing it” and believes that this “would add a special interest to his memorandum.”
“On a sudden impulse,” Tom steps out onto the ledge and starts walking toward the paper. While very high up Tom tells himself not look down. When he finally reaches the paper he is overcome with fear and almost falls 12 stories down to Lexington Avenue. He regains balance and gets the paper but now he cannot move. He screams “Help!” but remembers how he ignored shouts like his in the night. This is when Tom starts to wish he had gone with his wife rather than having to climb out to the ledge.
The terrified Tom finally gains the courage to...