I’d love to tell you guys the story behind this particular blast from the past, but I just don’t recall what it is…
January 12, 2002
I can’t remember the title of this column
Everybody has moments where they feel the world is way ahead of them in some way or another — when your friends from college start getting married and you don’t, when a girl you went to high school with has a baby, when you catch yourself making a joke about voters in Florida and people roll their eyes at you because that’s soooo two years ago.
That’s why I find it comforting that, in one respect at least, I am far ahead of my peers. I have turned into a world-class absentminded professor long before I have any right to.
I’m terrible about remembering things, folks. I constantly misplace items. I spend more hours trying to figure out where I left books than I do actually reading them. I’ll reach in my pocket for my cell phone only to realize it’s probably still plugged in at home. I write myself notes to remember deadlines then I forget what I did with the notes. I am the Fred MacMurray of the 21st Century.
On the way to the office, this morning, I thought of at least three different ways to begin this column, all of which were much funnier than what you just read, but I somehow lost them along the way. Part of me firmly believes that if I could write the best stuff I think of instead of just the best stuff I can remember I’d have won a Pulitzer Prize by now.
This became an issue for me a few days ago when, during a conversation with some friends, I mentioned a print I had signed by artist Don Rosa about two years ago (a wonderful cartoonist that most of you have never heard of, yet you would waste money seeing movies like American Pie 2. What’s wrong with you people?)
When I got the print I put it aside, firmly intending to have it framed as soon as possible. I should have known this was the death-knell. I have, in my life, accumulated a small library of posters, artwork, certificates, diplomas, etc. that deserve to be under glass, stretching back to an autographed Superman poster I got for Christmas in 1992 which is currently in my closet in the same cardboard tube I got it in. In the entirety of my life, I have only framed one document, and that was only because I found something else in a frame that really didn’t need one, so I switched them out.
The discussion about the print made me decide to dig it up — and that’s where I made my second mistake. Trying to remember where on earth I put it. When I straighten up, I have a tendency to take important items and locate a place to put them “for safe-keeping.” Usually I choose somewhere unusual, using the logic that this will make it easy to remember. In fact, this just makes it far more likely to give me a migraine when the time comes to actually locate the object.
It’s larger than normal typing paper, so I can automatically rule out the mounds of notebooks, printed pages and documents that I normally sift through in these situations. Also — wherever it is, it is not folded. I may be absentminded, but I’m never careless about this sort of thing — the print is undoubtedly either laying flat somewhere (possibly between the pages of an oversized book) or rolled up so it can be flattened when framed. Yeah right.
“But Blake,” you are asking, “how do you know you didn’t just throw it away?” You are more likely to be asking this if you are, for instance, my mother.
The chances of this are very slim — I never throw away anything, particularly any pieces of paper, without first carefully examining it and determining if it is something I will either need or desire in the future. The result of this is that I still own approximately 95 percent of the matter that has ever come into my possession. By the time I die I fully expect to have accumulated enough stuff to open a large museum, which will be called “Stuff Owned By That Crazy Guy Who Never Threw Anything Away.”
I’m not particularly worried about my inability to locate this print, because I know what will happen. I’ll stop looking, it will again slip my mind and, some months from now, I’ll start looking for something else. That’s when I’ll find Mr. Rosa’s artwork, and I will be momentarily delighted to have it back in my possession until I am again overcome with irritation that I can’t find whatever the heck it will be I’m looking for that time.
So if you see me over the next few days mumbling to myself or scratching out notes on the back of a business card, ladies and gentlemen, don’t despair. I just thought of somewhere else to look.
There was a moral to this story, but I put it in a box somewhere and can’t find the blasted thing.
Blake M. Petit would give you his e-mail address, but he lost it. Oh, here it is. Contact him with comments, suggestions or, if you have it, his Don Rosa print at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com.