Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Losing It


It is normal to lose things. Pauline Kael lost it at the movies. I wonder if Jimmy Durante every found Arthur Sullivan's Lost Chord. At this age all of my friends are orphans, even if Oscar Wilde said it was unfortunate to have lost one parent but both, appeared to be carelessness.

Now, what was that second thing to go?

We lose our innocence, our virginity, our hair and our teeth, all in the natural order of life and some of us lose our marbles. Peggy went on a diet and lost height. In World War I a whole generation was lost literally and the decade after, the survivors were lost figuratively. How a whole continent got lost we won’t know until someone from Atlantis shows up for an interview.

While looking for some lost object a few years ago I had a brilliant insight, namely that everything is somewhere. Plato couldn’t have said it better or even Yogi Berra.

Today I was looking for my checkbook and found a Netflix movie I’d misplaced. A few weeks ago I lost my keys and found my glasses in the search. I can hardly wait to lose my library card so I might find my lost credit card. It’s actually fun looking for my cell phone and hearing it beep, Here I Am, under a stack of newspapers.

Then there’s the frustration looking for something so important, I put it in a special place; so special that I have no memory where that might be.

A few weeks ago I took it to a new level. I spent three days looking for Peggy’s prescription received by mail order. I had a distinct memory of opening the package and putting the contents on the dining room table. I could picture it all because it was a box rather than the usual vial. Finally I called the pharmacy and found out they hadn’t sent it yet. I was looking for something that wasn’t there.

Samuel Clemens remarked that as he aged he remembered things that never happened. Now I know the feeling. I had heard how important it is to form an image of a lost article before setting out on the hunt, As one faculty diminishes, another rushes in. Everything may, indeed, be somewhere but not necessarily in this realm. The next time I start looking for something I’d better make sure it’s not all in my head.

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