Al Batt: It was the case of the missing sunglasses

Published 9:19 am Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.

My wife misplaces her sunglasses each day the sun shines.

That’s not a terrible thing. The worst part of it is that I have to find my eyeglasses so that I could help her look for her sunglasses.

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Humans have a minor superpower. We lose things. It’s easy because everyone and everything is a temp.

I’ve lost my desire to watch the Super Bowl. How could I resist watching the 12 minutes of actual football? The Super Bowl was on TV and there I was, not watching it. It was just that easy. I’d rather watch high school sports.

A fellow I knew put his false teeth in a glass of water on his bedside stand each night. One night, he not only misplaced the dentures, he couldn’t find the glass.

Memory can be as bumpy as a seat over a flat tire. We’ve forgotten things all our lives and we’ve done so effortlessly. My mother would say to me in my boyhood years, “What did I just tell you?”

All I could remember is that I’d forgotten what she’d told me.

Some people lose a few pounds. Someone else finds them. There is a lost and found department for lost weight. My neighbor went on a diet and in just three weeks, he’d lost his car keys and a brown sock.

We lose tempers, minds, motives and senses of humor. We lose mittens. We lose dogs. We lose cats. I saw a poster once describing a lost tent. Humans have so many things to remember. We have so much stuff that storage units proliferate.

Treasured family recipes are lost. Fortunately, most of them can be found in a church cookbook. My wife and I visited Morris Cookbooks in Kearney, Nebraska. It’s printed countless church cookbooks from all 50 states, making it the nation’s largest cookbook publisher and finder of lost recipes.

Most everyone has reasonable doubt as to the location of at least one remote control.

Most nights, I lose all my bed covers. My wife takes them in a hostile takeover. It’s OK, I know where they are.

An aunt of mine tied a string around her finger to help her remember something and then forgot about the string tied around her finger.

We are grilled.

“Where did you have it last? When did you last see it?”

“Have you looked everywhere?” That’s an easy question to answer. Of course, I haven’t looked everywhere. That would be impossible.

Life is a scavenger hunt. We struggle to keep from doubting ourselves forever. Then we locate the lost item.

“Dagnab it! If it had been a snake, it would have bit me!”

I don’t believe in “Finders, keepers. Losers, weepers.” I’ve found lost wallets, purses, a laptop computer, a tablet, cellphones, a camera, a spotting scope, car keys and a class ring. I turned them all into the proper authorities and I hope and trust that they found their owners. I was working in Illinois when I found a thick wallet behind the door of my room. It was so thick that if he’d flown there, his wallet would have been checked luggage. When I contacted the owner, a lawyer from North Carolina, he was surprised. He wanted his wallet and cards back, but asked if I’d donate the money to charity. I did just that. He had $601 in his billfold. I mailed his wallet back with a tax-deductible receipt for his donation to a fine charity. I never heard back from him.

I’m no saint. I don’t return everything.

I found a lost penny near a gas pump one day. I kept it.

I suppose we could build a giant wall around each of us to keep from losing things. George Carlin said, “Life is worth losing.”

That might be a koan. I enjoy a good koan. A koan is a paradox that Zen Buddhist monks meditate upon in order to abandon ultimate dependence upon reason and gain intuitive enlightenment. The Tao Te Ching says, “We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.”

There are those hectic days when memory is muddied and addled. Then there are days when memory shines like sunlight through a clean window.

Most people are either good at losing things or bad at finding things.

Finding a lost thing makes it difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts.

That keeps me looking for lost sunglasses.