So you want to hear a story? Well, I used to know a whole lot of really interesting ones. Some of them so funny you would laugh yourself unconscious. Others so terrible, you would never want to repeat them. Now I can’t remember any of those. So maybe I’ll just tell you about the time I found that lost thing.
This all happened many summers ago, down on the beach. I was as usual working tirelessly on my bottle top collection. At least until I saw the thing. It sure wasn’t doing much. It just sat there with a really weird look about it. You know, a sad, lost sort of look. Nobody else seemed to notice it was there. They were all too busy doing other stuff I guess.
Hello? It turned out to be really friendly. I played with the thing for most of the afternoon. It was great fun! But the whole time I couldn’t help feeling that something wasn’t quite right. As the hours slouched by it seemed less and less likely that anyone was coming to take the thing home. And soon there was no denying the unhappy truth.
It was lost.
I asked a few people if they knew anything about it. I took the lost thing over to Pete’s place. Pete has an opinion on just about everything. “Cool,” he said. Pete didn’t know what the thing was exactly. But he said what he always does, that all physical manifestations could be identified empirically. through careful observation, calibrated measurement, and controlled experimentation. In the end, Pete just shrugged. He didn’t think the lost thing came from anywhere. It didn’t belong anywhere either. Some things in life are like that, he said. They’re just plain lost.
There was nothing left to do but take the thing home with me. As for my parents… I already knew that Mum would be concerned about how filthy its feet were. That Dad would be worried about all sorts of strange diseases. They both just wanted me to take it back to where I found it. “But
it’s lost!” I said. Not that that made any difference.
I decided to hide the thing in our back shed. At least until I could figure out what to do next. I mean, I couldn’t just leave it wandering the streets. The Lost thing seemed happy there. But I sure couldn’t keep it in the shed forever. Mum and Dad would eventually notice when they came out looking for a hammer or something. It was a real dilemma.
Are you finding that the order of day to day life Is unexpectedly disrupted? Do you suffer from unclaimed property? Objects without name? Troublesome artifacts of unknown origin? Things that just don’t belong? Don’t panic! We’ve got a pigeon hole to stick it in. The Federal Department of Odds and Ends.
The next morning we caught a tram all the way into the city. We arrived at a tall gray building with no windows. It smelled like disinfectant. I have a lost thing… I called for the receptionist. “Fill in the forms” – she sighed. I was looking around for a desk, when I suddenly felt something touch my elbow. And then there was a tiny voice. If you really care about that thing you shouldn’t leave it here. This is a place for forgetting. Leaving behind. Here, take this. “Cheers” – I said. You shouldn’t leave it here…
It was some kind of sign, I guess. Not very important looking. But it did seem to point somewhere. Eventually we found what seemed to be the right place. In a dark little gap of some anonymous little street. The kind of place you would never know existed unless you were actually looking for it.
I still think about that lost thing from time to time. Especially when I see something out the corner of my eye, that doesn’t quite fit.