Saturday, July 4, 2015

Going, going, gone

Mid-March 1994

I lose things. Frequently and consistently- just as I have since I was a child. It is a chronic affliction, like snoring, only more public. I don't know how I do it, but according to those close to me, I make it look easy.

My first watch was a Christmas present. On Christmas Day I went out with Dad to do the chores, and somewhere on the way back, I lost my watch. Rapid as this was, it was a record easily broken in future years. I've been known to lose lunch money between the kitchen door and the bus. I was 16 years old before my Mom stopped tying it up in my handkerchief.  

It's not that we losers don't care, but that we are not very good at worrying about where all our stuff is at any given moment. I like to think of this as a refreshingly non-materialistic social viewpoint. For instance, I'm not exactly sure where my combine is right now, but I'm almost positive it’s around here somewhere.

Its easy to blame the loser. This is unfair.  To begin with, the term "loser" carries too many negative connotations.  I suggest using "location-impaired persons".  The root of the problem is that our minds operate in a different manner, and perhaps on a different planet, than others. I've always suspected that great philanthropists were like us, and they gave money away because they knew sooner or later they would lose it anyway.  It may eventually be discovered that magicians like David Copperfield don't actually make things disappear – they just are industrial-strength losers.   ("What happened to the Statue of Liberty?   Gee, I just laid it down...")

What makes matters worse, is some things are actually manufactured to be lost. Vice-grips are an example. Also 3/4" wrenches, and any screwdriver, except the giant Phillips kind that has no known use. This failing can extend to other tools as well. I've often noticed neighbors and delivery trucks stopping occasionally while driving our lane, until a friend told me our fuel man had stocked his toolbox by watching for tools fallen from repaired machinery.  Some of my fields have abnormally high tests for chromium due to the buried pliers.

I have a recurring nightmare in which I go to plant a field, and can't quite remember where it is.   The scary part is the deep suspicion that I probably could lose an entire field. (I can hear my mother saying, "Stop and think.  When did you have it last?")  Those of us who suffer from this frailty struggle with systems to cope. I park my car at the edge of the mall totally alone, so I can see it when I come out. For years I told my children I did this so people who weren't as healthy as us could park closer and wouldn’t have to walk as far.  I surround myself with possessions that are hard to lose, like the boxes things come in. Long after the item has gone AWOL, you can still find the box to remind you.

There is a good side to this curse, sort of. We losers never take a possession for granted, since each time we see or use it is likely to be the last. We don't get too attached to stuff and this introduces a healthy perspective, I think. Perspective is not a lot of comfort when you can't find your 70 foot auger (don't ask), but it helps salvage some self respect.

It gets worse, however. I've lost tickets and wallets. I've hidden lovingly purchased Christmas presents in October and never seen them again. I've lost time itself, unable to remember what I did with the last three days. I've lost the feeling in my foot at a concert. I've lost my temper, and my patience, and my head. I've lost my nerve, lost face, even lost my heart (actually, it was stolen), and once in 1980 almost lost hope. I lost out several times, and one memorable occasion, ....rats - just lost my train of thought.

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