Friday, January 18, 2008

Searching for pens, but finding...

Have you ever noticed that pens seem to migrate to various drawers and baskets, but never to the places where you need them? For instance, I needed a pen to go through the roll on the first day of class this week—incredibly I couldn’t’ find one in my entire office except of course if I’d stolen one from Middlebrow’s desk.

This morning I decided to remedy the lack of pens in my work-a-day world; I went a searching and found pens aplenty. While checking a top drawer in our bedroom, I found a whole set of little things from that have been transferred from top drawer to top drawer in my bedroom for years. It’s stuff that has no real purpose, but I can’t quite throw away.

My MTC teacher badge. I taught missionaries for two years while attending BYU. What should I do with this now I’m not a believing Mormon? Do I want my own kids to stumble on it later on in life? “Dad use to teach missionaries, can you imagine?” If one of my kids gets married in the LDS temple, I will see if it can get me in.

Several knives. I have several knives, many my dad has given me in hopes of supporting hunting and camping and man-stuff. They haven’t gotten much use. Of course if I remember the knives in the throes of some house invasion, I can quickly sneak it out and stab the life out of the invader. There’s even a butterfly knife, a knife I found rummaging around at my grandma in the top drawer of my dad’s old room.

Birthday card from my wife: “I hope this year will be the year for fulfilling your Wasatch dream.” (Wasatch 100 mile race) Well, that didn’t go so well. I can’t even run a 5k now.

Two cases for glasses and one pair of old very round and big glasses which I’ve kept as a backup pair. Not sure these would be much help as things are quite blurry.

Organ donor card from 2000—I think this is marked on my Driver’s license or something. Hope they don’t need to find the card in order to donate my liver or eyes.

Many receipts: one for 6 used VHS movies from Movie Trading co. which is now out of business—that was a real smart purchase; another for $100 dollar Ascent Trekking poles I bought to use in the Wasatch race to cushion the downhill because of my patelar tendonitis—didn’t make it and looked silly as Unhip noted after pacing me, “You might need to work a bit on that downhill.” BUT I did just use the poles last week on a snow hike.

Several floppy disks: Why do I keep these? Well, because there might be something important on them, maybe a college paper I wrote that I’d like to read. Yeah, right. Hell, I don’t even have a floppy disk drive in either of our computers.

A interview tape of a student from 1996: Man, this stuff is depressing me. This was yet another failure—a Master’s thesis which never happened.

A 4x6 card with notes and pages numbers from one of the rare books I read but did not buy. I have no idea which book as I failed to indicate that but at least I know that on p. 35 it discusses “father in tree—death, bees.” WTF???

A connector TV thingy (EAGLE Model TM-1): You know it’s to hook up a TV antennae with. I’m proud that we had rabbit ears until just a few years ago when we had to do cable in order to get high speed Internet. And who knows—see what happened in I AM Legend—I might need it some day.

A Philmont Scout Ranch badge: This is a keeper as it reminds me that under no circumstances should I ever go on a horse trip of any kind, nor attempt to work with alternative youth (or any youth for that matter) in some outdoor adventure.

One Dry Erase Marker which I can actually use

Another Birthday letter (2004) from my wife with yet another “I hope you are able to do Wasatch.” What a fine woman.

Two foreign pieces of paper money I found in a used book. One is dated 1991 so I must have found them while working in the used book store in Provo. The owner was nuts; the job, sifting through a condemned warehouse of books with pigeon shit on them, was absolutely bizarre. The language on the money seems like Russian but I’m not sure; I’m sure though that someday they will make me rich.

Two “My daddy is my favorite pal!” cards from primary. There are several prompts inside that the children complete: I love when my dad… etc. On this one my daughter wrote “Kiss me.” That’s cute. On another prompt, My dad’s favorite thing to do is… my son wrote, “Teach his classes? Tells me to put things away every day.” Ok, that’s disturbing.


Oh yeah, and I did find two pens.


Dr Write said...

All our pens end up in Son's room. Perhaps in reaction to MB's telling him to throw things away everyday? Or maybe he just likes pens.

Lisa B. said...

Love this post. Glad to know that another house is filled with stuff like that. Definitely keep that MTC teacher badge. It will for sure come in handy. Halloween costume, for instance.

Clint Gardner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clint Gardner said...

You have the incredible ability of writing the most touching posts.

Anonymous said...

I have an accumulation drawer - it's the bottom drawer of my dresser. It catches everything!!! The strangest thing that I found recently was a mini CD of a Brittney Spears single that I had gotten in a Burger King drink lid about ten years ago. Don't worry, I burned it(with fire), broke it, and through it away. I then sacrificed a young goat as a repentance offering.

Nik said...

I have the same pen problem. At least you check your bag before class. I love asking students if I can borrow their pens....(fortunately, it didn't quite come to that. I found a hidden pen in a folder).
I love this list of top drawer items. I love going through my top drawer every time I move, pretending I'm going to go through and organize but instead I just hold it up, remember what it was good for, and put it back in. The drawer has been moved whole at least 6 times.

HH said...

Only you could make rummaging through a junk drawer so damned interesting. Further, only you could see it as a point of life analysis, and philosophical pondering.

I love that! I can't tell if you and that cranky anarchist(wink) think too damned much, or if I simply think too damned little?.

HH =)

Lisa said...

I love this post. I tend to keep a lot of things around, too, and they sometimes remind me of my failures, of my not-quites. I wanted to apply to a master's program straight out of college (I'd go to school for five years and end up with a master's from my school in English when done). So I got three sealed letters of recommendation and then never applied. Never threw the letters away, but have never had the heart to read them. I don't know where they are now, but I suppose they'll pop up when I'm 40 and I'll feel some kind of dread again in seeing them. You'd think I liked dread.

shane said...

Yeah, I hate being reminded of who I used to be--makes me worry that who I am now will prove equally as brain-dead. That's why I don't keep a journal--but, damnit, I do have a top bedroom drawer.

Lisa said...

I have journals and drawers galore. Hmmmm.

shane said...

I don't have a journal, but I do have a bedroom top drawer, and, I should add, a BLOG!

middlebrow said...

I agree with theorris--a touching post. But this does not exculpate you. Thief! You know counterintuitive that I keep a strict inventory of all things in my desk. Was it the blue pen?

Seriously, a great post. It reminds me of a Phillip Lopate essay called "My Drawer." The essay is structured around the different objects he finds in his drawer.