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Have you ever lost an item so valuable, so unbelievably cherished, that there could be no way to replace it?
And was that item also something that would be hugely embarrassing, and possibly incriminating, if someone actually found it for you?
This is the position in which I found myself. My notebook — the one where I write down all my column ideas and anything else I think of — went missing for a week, and I just about died. It’s a red, weather-beaten composition notebook, the kind you see seventh-grade girls carrying around and decorating with pictures of One Direction.
I use that notebook to prune the weeds off my brain. It keeps me from saying offensive things in public (“Well, she probably broke up with you because you’re not interesting at all. But it could also be your hair”). It keeps me from getting into pointless flame wars on Facebook (“What do you mean, Chester A. Arthur was a fool for signing the Pendleton Act? Do you even know anything? Can you read? Are you Hitler?”). Most importantly, it keeps me from writing columns that are just outdated pop-culture references (if I hadn’t found the notebook, this column would have been “Is Charlie Sheen the new Jersey Shore Kardashians’ Bieber?”). Without it, I was going crazy.
After gutting the house to find it, and failing, my wife suggested that I might have left it at our (unspecified religious building) from the (unspecified day of worship) the week before. Perhaps one of the older folks who help to clean the building after our (unspecified religious services) picked it up and placed it in the lost-and-found in the library.
The first thing I thought when she mentioned this possibility was “Hooray!” The second thing I thought was “Oh, boy. What are those old ladies in the library going to think when they look through that to try and figure out who it belongs to?”
Here’s what they would find:
My wonderful wife went and picked it up for me the following (unspecified day of worship), and I was thrilled. She said the old ladies in the library were, of course, confused, and a little rattled, but the notebook was fine.
And so, I am now reunited with the notebook, and was able to make a column out of the experience, and the world is safe from my thoughts.
You know, that might be another thing to add to that world-destruction list . . .