MAINE: my final frontier. These are the voyages of the Scooter Vespa 250 i.e. Super. Its continuing mission - to explore America's most heavily forested state - to roam the vast coastline, numberless lakes, and mighty mountains. To boldly go where no scooter has gone before!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

You can't ride if you can't find your key

Everybody loses something sometime. I seem destined for the Stuff Loser's Hall of Fame. Even with my Vespa key on a lanyard, along with a tube with my aging man's medications, my house keys, and my cell phone, I've been unable to ride several times this summer due to lack of a key.

Here are the only three places my scooter key is supposed to be:

Around my neck on the lanyard

On a hook in my study, on the lanyard

In the GTS ignition, with the lanyard around my neck and with me on the scooter

With that introduction, allow me to share a chapter from what I hope one day will become a published book called "Lucky Boy." Briefly, it's the account of my life as an adopted child, and my stubborn, stupid unwillingness to accept the reality of my great good fortune, instead choosing to become a (expletives deleted - there are no acceptable descriptions).

The opening line: "Adoption is a crap shoot. I got lucky."

Thank God for little things  

I wish there was a face-saving way to explain it, but the fact is that I lose everything. Surely I’m not alone in this malady. No one who possesses more than one thing not permanently attached to his body can keep track of even that one thing at all times.

Suppose a caveman owned only a single club—isn’t it likely that he set it down for a moment, and forgot where he’d left it, sending him into a frantic search? After all, back in those days before guns and civilization, losing your club left you defenseless.

Later, when our caveman acquired a knife, maybe a second club and a spare loincloth, the task of keeping his stuff together got more difficult.

So I don’t regard my inability to keep my things in order some new plague on my life alone. Everyone loses stuff all day, every day. I’d even wager that Eve lost the first apple with which she tried to tempt poor dumb Adam.

“Here, honey, I’ve got something new I’d like to show you,” one can hear her say. “Oh, nuts, where did I put that thing?”

Well, dear,” says patient old Adam, “call me when you find it.”

From the Bible we know that Eve found the forbidden fruit, and that Adam ate it, for suddenly the pair realized that they were naked, and carefree nudity went the way of the Dodo and the dinosaur. That was probably the only instance in history when finding a lost item diminished the world of man.

Back in the present day, my difficulty creates infuriating disarray. Before I’ve been awake for half an hour, some vital object that was at my fingertips at bedtime has slipped its mooring and threatens to disrupt my day. And once behind schedule, I know I will never catch up.

Once, I lost my car in a parking garage. Up and down I walked, searching for an hour or more. When the garage closed for the night, I still hadn’t found my car, and was doomed to walk home in the cold and dark of midnight. With sore, leaden feet, I began to trudge home when I found my car, parked on the street where I had left it.

Like everyone else, I’ve lost hats and coats, mittens and gloves, keys and wallets, baseball bats and gloves. I’ve spent a small fortune replacing misplaced items, usually just before I discover where I’d left the thing days or weeks before.

I think I was around 16- or 17-years-old when my mother, gentle and kind and pure of speech, made a statement that, while not helping me even a tiny bit in finding my misplaced car keys, put at least some things in place, and helped to appreciate God’s small gifts.

As I tore madly through our house, desperately late for school, sweating profusely, near tears of fury, I screamed, “Where the hell are my keys?”

Mom calmly said, “Well, Tommy, thank God for scrotums.”

I stopped short and stared at my mother. How does a teenaged boy react to that, coming from his mother. I didn’t realize that she even knew the term. And what was that supposed to mean, anyway?

Frankly, I was halfway to school—on foot—before I got the point: “You lost your keys today. Yesterday it was your homework assignment. Tomorrow you’ll find something else to lose. But at the very least, you have a couple of things you’ll never lose.”

I’m fairly certain that that was Mom’s lesson. Either that, or “Never own more than you can carry in a small sack.”


  1. Given your special 'talent' it seems certainly fortunate that some things you simply can't lose ;-)
    I am just the opposite. For reasons unbeknownst to me I can even remember, where other people left/lost/forgot their stuff. Hence my husband's favourite question: Darling, where did I put the (insert missing item)? I tell you, it's a gift... and a curse.

  2. I'm sorry I didn't discover you here till now!

    I can still boast that I've not yet been in a taxi, but you're one up on me in having heard E. Power Biggs practicing his craft.

    We could be brothers with the gray beards and scooter riding, though. And I love your writing style 'cause it's delightfully similar to my own, I think.

    Ride on and write on!

    - Joe at Scootin' da Valley

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