Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Unequaled Frustration of a Loser

I lose things.

Expensive things. Cheap things. My things. Your things. It doesn't matter. If I use it, eventually I lose it. I witness men losing things more than women. I lose things more than most anyone.

For decades now, I've left hoodies, hats, jackets and sweaters scattered in my wake. I once lost my winter coat — in February. I've lost: two wallets, more gloves than I can remember, a couple of hockey sticks, a slew of tools, some $5 bills and some $20s too.

I've left so many things behind that when I lose something now, it's not merely losing something. No sir. Losing something now is symbolic of a deep problem and tantamount to a decisive referendum that I've failed on a fundamental level — again. Suffice it to say, I don't take it lightly.

It's natural then that this vies for No. 1 on the list of traits I hope the boy doesn't inherit from me. But, family history might not be on my side — or the boy's.

By the time you've bought your third pair of these babies, you
really learn to appreciate how ordinary they are.
For as long as I can remember my father was always on the hunt for one of two things: his wallet and his clip-on sunglasses. We were always rooting for dad to find one of those things.

For the most part, my two brothers and I have done a good job of fighting off the curse. In my early twenties, I observed that every month or so one of my brothers or myself would be on the hunt for a wallet but as we aged such instances declined.

Today, my wallet sits in one of three places: my pocket, my bag or the kitchen window sill. (I don't keep cash in it, so don't get any ideas.)

So, I don't lose it anymore. Instead, the only item I've lost recently is my sun glasses.

No big deal right? Well it wouldn't be if the sun glasses in question weren't terribly valuable.

Unfortunately these ones are — or, they were.

They cost more than they should. But what made these shades particularly valuable is that Mrs. Blackwell gave them to me about five years ago as a wedding gift

I've gone through three pairs of these exact same glasses since.

I lost the first pair a year after I got them. I fell off a boat into a lake while simultaneously lighting a cigarette and struggling to hold onto a mannequin — it was a fun day. I went under the water and my glasses never came up.

The only positive development I took from this ordeal was knowing where the glasses were. I hadn't just misplaced them. They were at the bottom of a lake and there was no getting them back without taking SCUBA training. So I wouldn't suffer from the false hope that I'd ever find them elsewhere.

I've learned that the worst part about losing something is the exquisite frustration of not knowing if looking harder will matter, or if it's simply lost for good.

Not long after the boat incident,  I purchased the exact same pair of glasses again. After all they were a gift and, really, who among us hasn't fallen off a boat because they were trying to light a cigarette while hoisting a mannequin? It was a perfectly honest accident, so why punish myself?

Dad's answer to the question: "Hey, could you find a way to
annoy your entire family without uttering a single word?"
These replacement shades lasted three years until I wore them to a beer tent and left them there last Labor Day. I hunted for those glasses. I called restaurants, turned my house upside down and, in general, didn't give myself a moment of peace for two weeks before finally deducing where and when I lost them.

My search was about pride as much as wanting to find the glasses. It took some time to come to terms with this failure. As a sort of self-imposed penance, I waited six months before replacing them.

Which brings me to earlier this week when I went to the window sill to retrieve my glasses and they weren't there (my wallet was of course).

About 45 minutes after noticing their absence, I was in the fifth stage of grief when I remembered that I might have put them in a jacket pocket.

And that's where I found them.

I'd like to say that, along with the glasses, I also found some great lesson but there was none.

However, there was a moment of reflection.

I thought about how one day, I'd get better and I'd always, always, always remember to put my sunglasses in the same place. And then I got realistic and admitted to myself that if that didn't happen, I could always buy some nice clip ons.

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