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Lost and Found

January 17, 2013 | by Mordechai Schmutter

My 8 surefire tips to finding whatever you’ve lost. Guaranteed!

Today’s topic is: How to find things that you or a loved one has lost.

TIP #1: It’s your loved one’s fault.

Okay, that’s not necessarily true. But all of us have something that we lose on a regular basis. For example, my five-year-old son, Heshy, is always losing his shoes. And I don’t mean his set of shoes. I mean one sneaker and one dress shoe.

TIP #1: It’s your loved one’s fault.

My wife and I lose things too. We have a cordless phone in our room that almost always ends up under the beds. We never notice that it’s missing until it starts ringing at six in the morning, and then we have four rings to move the beds and find the phone in the dark before it goes to voicemail.

Also, sometimes, if I go to a lot of stores in one day, I lose my car. It’s hard enough to remember where I parked when I go to one store, but if I parked in a different place at each store, it totally throws me. “It was right in front! No, wait. That was the other store.”

Did I leave the car at the other store?

Also, every day I come into class (I teach high-school English), and I have to wait for everyone to find their books. And by the time they do that, the period is over. Then I come in the next day, eager to continue the lesson, and I have to wait, again, while everyone finds their books.

So everyone loses things. But here’s a more specific example: This past Saturday Night, I lost my cell phone.

“Well, where did you lose it?”

I don’t know. If I knew, it wouldn’t be lost.

I’m not panicking, because it’s not my main cell phone – it’s my prepaid emergency backup phone. I’m not one of those people whose entire life is in their phones -- the only two numbers I’ve ever called from it are my house and my wife’s cell phone, and I know both of those numbers by heart. So after searching everywhere in a panic, I’ve kind of been waiting for whoever picked it up to call me. After all, there are only two numbers in the phone.

But it’s been almost a week now, and I still haven’t found it. So I asked around for some tips:

TIP #2: Think about the last place you saw the item.

I remember the last time I saw the phone. My wife and I went to a presentation, and I turned the phone off right before it started. I don’t even know why I brought my phone in the first place. I knew I would have to turn it off, and besides, I only ever use that phone to call my wife, and she was right there with me. And if I hadn’t turned it off, I would just be able to call it and see if anyone picks up.

TIP #3: Check your person. (Your person is you. That’s just how people say it. I don’t think you’re expected to carry a smaller person around and go, “Hi, I’m Mordechai, and this is my person.” But if you do, you should probably check him as well.)

My person doesn’t have my phone. I asked him.

TIP #4: Make sure to check the same five places 68 times. Especially if it’s not a likely place for the thing to be. For example, if you’re looking for your car keys, make sure to keep checking the oven.

TIP #5: Call for the item. Continuously say things like, “I can’t believe this! Where is it?” Like it’s finally going to break down and go, “Here I am!”

As soon as you open the package, the old one will turn up. Guaranteed.

Okay, so that might not happen. But you should definitely keep muttering anyway if there’s someone else in the room, so that he’ll understand why you keep walking in and out and crawling in circles and opening the same three closets 53 times.

TIP #6: If there’s someone else in the room, he should make sure to smirk and say, “It’s always in the last place you look! Ha ha! Get it? Because after you find it, you stop looking!”

Yeah. Ha ha. I wish you would get lost.

“No, you don’t get it!” he’ll say. “Even if it’s in the first place you look, it’s still the last!”

No it’s not. If it’s in the first place you look, it was never missing. (“I was missing my coat, but it was in the first place I looked! Right on the coat rack!”)

Does that theory always work? Sometimes I try to call its bluff. I’ll stand there and go, “Okay, this is the last place I’m looking!” And then I look, and it’s not there. So I have to keep looking. Also, sometimes it’s not in the last place you look -- you check the last place and give up, and then you find the item six months later, when you’re cleaning for Pesach.

TIP #7: Calm down. Whenever I lose something, my wife ends up finding it, and whenever my wife loses something, I end up finding it. Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that we should stop hiding each other’s stuff.

But it really has more to do with panicking. When you can’t find something, you panic and start looking in ridiculous places, until you get tired, calm down, and find the item. That’s why it’s always in the last place you think to look. So the solution is to have someone else look, or to calm yourself down. If it helps, you can turn the whole thing into a game. You can walk around with a pipe and a magnifying glass and say things like, “Elementary!” This might not help you find what you’re looking for, but you’ll feel a whole lot better.

If all else fails, though, you can go with the most effective tip:

Tip #8: Buy a new one. As soon as you open the package, the old one will turn up. Guaranteed. For example, if you lose your car in a parking lot, the best way to find it is to buy a new car. If that doesn’t work, you can use the new car to drive around the parking lot looking for the old one.

So I think I’m going to deactivate the phone and order a new one. As soon as I do this, I’ll find the old phone, only by then it will be totally useless. But we’ll keep it around for the kids to play with, and from then on, it will always be on the floor, getting kicked around and in the way when we want to look for other things. We always lose stuff because we have so much other stuff to look behind because we keep buying new stuff to replace the stuff that we still have but can’t find because it’s behind all our useless old stuff. So maybe I’ll push it off another day or two.

If you have my phone, call me. I’m at HOME, crawling under the furniture.


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