2005-12-16 / On Second Thought

Thirty–something speaks

Somebody stole it!
Mike Maddock


Either there are a lot of thieves in this world or my guardian angel just really enjoys messing with me because my stuff just keeps disappearing. Pencils vanish from my desk. My stapler ends up in various locations throughout the office. Socks escape to some mystical cotton underworld. Well, at least one of them does every couple of days, and I firmly believe my keys have feet and an innate ability to squeeze themselves into places no man has ever gone.

Studies have shown that human beings spend large portions of their lives sleeping, watching television, and even standing in line, but I wonder how much time we spend just looking for stuff. I know my day isn’t complete until I’ve located my keys in the morning, found a coat to wear, scrambled for various office supplies throughout the day, located my keys again in the afternoon, searched for the ketchup, and gone on a nighttime expedition for my children’s various sleeping companions. It feels like I’ve given half my life alone to finding my son’s “Lovey” which is a stuffed bunny, blanky combination thing that loves to hide between sofa cushions, under car seats, in stoves, or out in the yard.

I guess it’s unavoidable. If we have stuff, we’re eventually going to lose it, and it doesn’t matter how big the stuff is. My grandfather on my father’s side once had the entire staff of a mall security office searching for his car. He was sure he had parked his green Maverick 13 spaces down, near L7, in front of the JC Penny right next to some hippies in a VW van. He ended up filing a police report convinced his Maverick was on its way to Hermey’s Garage to be scrapped and sold for parts. Three hours later the little green Maverick magically appeared six spaces down, near A6, in front of the Sears nowhere near any hippies. Unlike the rest of the family, my grandfather refused to accept his losing ways. He claimed the car had been stolen up to the day he died. That’s right, someone stole the car from L7, took a joy ride, and parked it in front of Sears - probably to get a wrench or something.

Unfortunately, my family has a sad history with this losing affliction. I missed a couple of basketball games and a soccer match as a child because my dad couldn’t find his keys, and my mom lost me at a softball game once. My wife doesn’t technically lose much of anything. She just organizes certain items into certain places where they will never be seen or heard from again.

My oldest daughter has a lot of her great grandfather in her. She refuses to accept the fact she could possibly lose anything. But unlike her great grandfather, she doesn’t blame strangers or call the police. She just blames her younger sister and brother. It’s a convenient and somewhat believable thing to do. If my oldest daughter is correct in her accusations, then just this week my youngest daughter stole her leotard, toothbrush, several books, and her homework. My son hid her ballet shoes at least five times and made off with her school clothes three times. Either way, I should be disturbed. But we always eventually find my oldest daughter’s stuff right where she left it.

It’s all part of the great circle of life - get object...use object...lose object...search for object...buy new object...find old object...hit self in head with both objects. I would say all these objects are on my mind, but I lost that years ago.

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