Hey! My credit card offers are missing! Ten years of collecting credit card offers down the drain, apparently swiped from my office. I had them here in a neat pile beside my desk. All right; the pile wasn’t very neat this morning but that’s only a matter of timing.

Every week I get a number of offers in the mail in which large financial institutions beg both my wife and me to accept large amounts of credit from them. In return, they will charge us no interest for a year or they will deposit mile credits to our frequent flyer accounts. Some even offer to give us a small percentage of the money we spend with their cards back to us in cash. This is how badly they want to lend us money.

It seems odd because my brother-in-law always wants to borrow money from us and we certainly don’t fall all over ourselves making him a cash advance. We wouldn’t lend him a thousand and then give him 3 percent back on every time he ran to the grocery store. As a matter of fact, all we really want from him is the money back that’s already out there. I suppose I should write his parole officer another letter but that never seems to help.

Anyway, these credit card offers came to our house and I would put them into the pile next to my desk. After a while, I got a box, and when the box would overflow, I would neaten them up and keep piling them up. My desk is 29 inches high. When the pile got higher than the desk, I again consolidated and re-stacked to make sure things would stay compact. It’s amazing how many envelopes you can stack in a small area over time. Tragically, this was a collection of virgin, unopened offers. You can usually tell a credit card offer from a notice that your property tax is late just from the outside of the envelope. I only collected credit card offers that I did not open. For a while three years ago, Capital One sent me offers with no return address or any other markings on the envelope. It surprised me every time I opened one but I soon learned to identify those just by the texture of the paper.

No, this was no ordinary collection of credit card solicitations and it drove my wife nuts. There were nearly 100 pounds of envelopes there. I saw it as a monument to the excesses of the American financial industry, a harbinger of what I call “The Big Correction” to befall all of us in this debt-ridden hemisphere. She, on the other more practical hand, would see the neat stack in my cluttered office as an easy target for recycling.

My good wife is not partial to a private monument in the home that enshrines easy credit as the road to hell. I had to think fast, so I told her that Oprah or that annoying financial advice Suze woman on cable TV insisted that all credit card offers should be shredded. I warned that the envelopes are chock-full of private financial information that must properly be destroyed or it would be the ruin of us all.

That worked for the last four years but then three events coincided that I’m afraid may explain why my easy credit monument is missing. First, my wife learned that my credit score is better than hers. That was a very tough pill for her to swallow since she makes all the money for our household; she takes all of the risk and makes generally brilliant business decisions. I, on the other hand, do most of our accounting and apparently pay my own bills before some of hers. I’m sure this does not sit well with she-who-does-not-balance-her-own-checking-account.

The second event that led to the demise of my collection was that she noticed that when we decided to actually get a new credit card, I went online to compare offers even though my monument of offers was within easy reach.

Finally, on Earth Day, Camden National Bank offered shredding services for free. What financial document shredding has to do with Earth Day has got to be a bit of a stretch but it seems my wife jumped at the opportunity to do her duty for Mother Earth, Oprah, the three credit reporting bureaus and that annoying financial advice woman on cable TV. She marched all 100 pounds of my pristine collection down to the shredder at the local bank.

I hope it made a lot of people happy. I did notice my wife smiling even though I moped around for at least 45 minutes.

Credit card solicitations have fallen off in recent years. I suppose I’ll have to start looking for another hobby. I do have a good start on e-mails I’ve saved coming from Nigerian businessmen offering me great wealth. I actually have quite a pile of files and my wife can never take those to the shredder … unless I start printing them out.

Tom Sadowski lives in Lincolnville.