63. Robert’s Rules of Order

Published on 16 March 2024 at 08:03

© 2024 Robert Sickles

I’m not very well organized. (Linda is rolling her eyes.) I spend a lot of time pawing around my house, workshop and vehicles searching for things that seem so vital in the moment; recently, a sock, a hose nozzle, a charging cable, a photo of an old friend, a tube of antibiotic cream, a pack of utility blades.  Not to mention keys and wallet. You know about that weird place where lost socks sneak off to? That’s just one neighborhood of a large city populated by all kinds of my missing things.  I’m sure there are other people with this problem. The aisles of the big stores and the online shopping carts are busy with folks who have given up looking for their trusty old thingamabob and gone out to buy another new one… or to be safe, and to save a dollar, a shrink-wrap of 6 of them.

[Any of you who can’t relate to this must be an “everything-in-its-place” type. Maybe you’d kindly read on. Put on your social-anthropology hats and get a view into the inscrutable habits of an intriguing sub-culture.]

If it comes to the point where all I have time for in a day is hunting for misplaced items, the best option might be to stop doing anything and get rid of everything. I could inhabit the street corners with the holy men who live with only a robe, a staff and a bowl.

A heap of accumulated stuff is a distraction from what is really important in life, and an unsightly mucky fungus that grows on us; we should want to be clean. Bob Dylan and others sang, “when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” Hmm, there’s a thought. How about a self-help course in five steps?

Now is a good time for a bold-face headline…

“The Five Keys to Laughing Yourself Free of Mucky Fungus”

  1. The Question of FactAre you certain whether you still do, or ever did, actually own the thing you are hunting for? Think back for a moment. Maybe you put it in someone else’s cart when shopping at Target. Or you lent it to your brother-in-law, and you should have known from that moment that it was as good as his. Release! Let go! Go ahead now, let out a big cleansing guffaw!
  2. The Question of Identity: OK fine, you’ve given up the hunt. The damn thing is just plain lost. So, what exactly do you call that gizmo? You draw your best air doodles for the clerk at the hardware store who is helping you find a replacement. Soon your words become blubber-lipped gibberish and the two of you are in tears, heehawing like donkeys. This is good, you are making progress!
  3. The Lost Point: If you do happen to find the thing weeks later, it feels so anticlimactic. That frantic need for it has passed, and perhaps now it’s a question of why you were looking for it in the first place. It's OK, please share this moment with someone. It’s a hilarious story!
  4. The Found Point: Some time after going to buy a new thingy, you happen to open a random drawer and discover you already owned three more just like it—two of them are broken and rusty and one is still in its new plastic wrapper. Take all of them outside, do your happy dance and toss them in the air. So exhilarating! 
  5. Finding Your Own Portal of Elimination: (No, not that… no need for potty humor) Nothing can be lost that doesn’t exist. Purge! Dump it! Give it away! Then let out a good, long, liberating horselaugh!

All this clearing and laughter will be very good for your body, mind and spirit! While you were once known as an inert crustaceous lump, wise and beautiful people will gather to admire your youthful energy and enthusiasm! Can’t you just see yourself cartwheeling around the neighborhood? 

I have to disclaim that I haven’t actually done the program or achieved its results. Kinda busy right now. First, I just have to find the Japanese windchime I took down when our house was painted last fall. In the hall closet? Maybe in the garage behind the canning jars? Or did it wear out and get tossed? No matter, I see something similar online for under $25!


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4 months ago

This is funny and fairly true in our house. I attempt to keep Robert organized as much as is possible but I pretty much stay out of his office and shed out back. (Scary!) I however, have been known to misplace keys, replace them and find them under the truck seats a year later. Or was that Robert???

Kathy M
4 months ago

Your insight is enlightening Bobby!
The plusses of all that laughter sounds really fun! We don't need any more stress in our lives...I'll try your 5 step plan!

4 months ago

Your title -title of the year award, Robert.

4 months ago

Good story. You should read 'Swedish Death Cleaning'