THE BLOG
06/19/2013 04:05 pm ET | Updated Aug 17, 2013

I'm Losing It

Many people in their 50s and 60s spend a lot of time worrying what they will do with all the spare time they will have when they retire. One remedy for many of those people is to start losing things, so that their time will be spent trying to find stuff, instead of just sitting in front of the TV or napping or doing both.

I'm ahead of the curve on that one. I starting preparing for the age I am now by losing things even when I was in elementary school. Most of the losses are interesting stories, as they defy all laws of nature. Some are even heartwarming (how a Jew discovered St Anthony). A couple are hilarious, at least to me. All would have you sitting at your computer wondering why you were reading about my experiences instead of spending the time looking for your own lost stuff.

But I do feel compelled to relate my latest lost item adventure. Several weeks ago, I couldn't find my keys (car, house, office). This, in itself, is no big deal, since they always turn up eventually. This time, they didn't. A thorough going over of the entire house resulted in my not only not finding the keys, but not finding anything else of even the remotest value. In fact, the only thing that came of the search was that I once again became aware that I possess the world's largest collection of unidentifiable keys and really ugly key chains. But I'm afraid to throw anything out because I'm convinced that the minute I do, my son-in-law will email me and ask something like, "You do still have the key to our storage unit, right?"

I should add something here: Because I tend to misplace or lose things, I make sure my keys are big, bold clumps of jangly (Is that a word?) items, highly visible from far away. In addition to my keys, I had an antique ceramic faucet handle on the ring ("HOT" to be exact) and something that looks like a credit card, used to access Realtor lockboxes. You could easily spot either from across the room.

So, all this is to say that the key was not in the house, again defying a common law of physics: "If you carry something into the house, it will be in the house." I finally gave up. I did have a duplicate set of keys, so all I really needed was to get another key from BMW so that I'd have a spare again. And, thanks to the swell people at BMW (Their motto is "We can fix your car or sell you parts for a price that will make you swoon"), I could get a spare for a mere $200.

The days went on while I dragged my feet on ordering another car key or lockbox key. Then, after several weeks had gone by, a package arrived in the mail from a catalogue that sells women's clothing, one from which I occasionally order. Inside the manila envelope was a second manila envelope, one that I had addressed to the catalogue company to send an item back, several weeks earlier. Inside that second manila envelope were the lost keys. I had apparently dropped my keys into the envelope, along with the linen summer top that I was returning, and happily placed it into my mailbox for pick up.

The keys were intact. Only the "HOT" faucet handle was badly chipped and cracked and needed to be tossed. But that was the least of my problems. The main issue was how on earth did I ever drop the keys into the envelope in the first place, and then put it into the mailbox without noticing that the envelope now weighed approximately 10 lbs and made noises that, unless you live in either Miami or Texas, clothing doesn't normally make. But then I remembered that a couple years ago, I drove halfway to the office one day with a cat on the roof of my car, so I guess it all makes sense in the alternate universe in which I live.