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Yesterday, I spent a goodly amount of time straightening out the files atop my desk. This is a job something like dusting, at least to me. I do it, and before I know it, I have to do it again.
There are ten file folders – with pockets. Each is a different color. They are color coded and I have a master list so I don’t have to fumble around for the one I want. In addition, each has a label on the front so I know what’s inside.
This sounds efficient and I think it should work like a charm. Then why is it I have so much trouble finding the file I want, and why are they always in disarray? Part of the reason is the file holders I have. They don’t seem to interlock correctly, which means the folders are always falling over onto the next in line.
In addition to the folders, I have an odd assortment of material. There are owner’s manuals to everything I own and operate, including two phones, my TV remote controller, a microwave, and my scooter. These are indispensable since I always seem to be forgetting what does what, or worse, what doesn’t do what.
Manuals now-a-days are like road maps. They are written in three languages, which means they have multiple pages, all of which fold in strange directions. If anyone wants proof that the US has become more multi-cultural than ever before, a trip through an owner’s manual will provide it. I always get ticked off because I have to face the fact that I’m linguistically challenged. I used to know Spanish, but if you don’t use it, you lose it. I can understand the menu lady on the phone when she says, “To speak Espanol, press button eight,” but I’ve never pushed button eight to see how far I could go.
I have an assortment of booklets about various agencies and services in the State of Maine, all of which I intend to read someday, two filled books of phone numbers I used to call but haven’t for years, and an odd assortment of mailing envelopes I keep forgetting to check for contents.
The prize find during this most recent cleaning-up session was two notebooks. One is an old fashioned school notebook, the kind with the black and white cover, sewn pages, and vital statistics like conversion tables inside the covers. The other is a green spiral pad. The school book has a title space which reads, in fading ink, “Grammie’s Book of Things.” That’s exactly what both books are. All my life I’ve had the habit of jotting down things I want to remember, usually on the nearest piece of paper, and promptly losing the paper or stuffing it in a drawer or the book nearest to hand. I remember buying the pads to replace the scraps of paper on which I wrote.
The green pad is filled with bits and pieces of my fragmented mind, including a game where I try to see how many words I can make from the letters in one word. This is a self-absorbing game I’ve played since I was quite small – always having been interested in words. I read somewhere that the word with the most other words is, “entertainments”, and I think it may be true.
There are many inexplicable notations such as one word plus and unrecognized phone number. What did I mean by the word “Archaeology”, followed by a strange number? Of course, there are recipes, hastily copied from newspapers, TV shows, or magazines. I couldn’t find one I’d ever made.
The other notebook is far more interesting, containing all sorts of quotes and information I wanted to keep. There’s even some Haiku poetry I wrote. There are memorable quotes, including a simple explanation of the string theory of the Universe. I guess I hoped that by copying it and writing it down, I might be able to grasp it. I’m not.
I’ve written out numerous lyrics to songs I’ve always loved, like, “I’ll be seeing you.” Naturally, going over these means I sing them. Great fun.
Among my favorite quotes is Kinky Friedman’s rule of thumb. Kinky is a remarkable character. He was a child prodigy, grew up to be a musician, an author of very funny detective novels, and a Texan. He is currently running for Governor of Texas and if I lived there, I’d vote twice for him. Kinky advises, “Don’t play cards with a man named Doc.” “Don’t play chess with a man with no vowels in his name.” “Never eat at a place called, ‘Mom’s.’”
I’m going to keep my black and white pad close at hand. Things get lost among my files and I may have further words of wisdom by Kinky I’d like to reread.
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