As a kid, I always thought I was pretty good when it came to hanging on to things that really mattered. For example, I never lost my ball glove, my bike or a baseball card.
But, as I’ve aged, I’ve developed a pretty annoying habit of losing a pretty essential accoutrement in the oft-sunny Midwest, my sunglasses.
Just for kicks, I decided to knock around the iPad to try to gain some insight as to what items are more likely lost, something perhaps a bit more valid than the surveys on “Family Feud,” either the Steve Harvey version or the old version with that kissing, flirtatious Richard Dawson.
A couple of years ago, Tyler Gilden, creative director at Elite Daily, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, listed the seven things most lost: socks, ChapStick, nail clippers, headphones, cellphones, credit cards, and one’s own dignity.
The website Zomm News, which claims to have done a lot of research digging through lost-and-found bins, came up with five: keys, USB flash drives, cellphones, sunglasses, and gloves. It’s nice to know that mine made the list!
The number of pairs I’ve lost expands if I’m allowed to include those through the years I’ve carelessly destroyed, especially by sliding into vehicles and sitting on them. I know there are far better places to secure sunglasses when they aren’t perched on my nose, but somehow they’ve wound up under my fanny more than once.
Maybe if the glove compartment (strangely not called the gloves’ compartment unless someone is providing encouragement to lose just one) were called the sunglasses’ compartment, I’d have had a functioning pair of shades in my careless past far more often.
Other pairs, especially recently, have been lost in far more interesting and irretrievable ways.
Two pairs I actually watched depart, and both of those losses were water-related. One left me from the lido deck of a Carnival Cruise Line ship. The last time I had them, they rode atop the bill of my omnipresent ball cap. When I leaned a bit over the railing to check out the froth kicked up far below by the large vessel’s bow, they sprouted wings and flew off, leaving me to watch the slow spiraling descent and ensuing small splash in a very large and deep blue Atlantic.
The second water-related loss was aided by a force of nature I think I fear more than any other, wind. A couple of Marches ago, on an exceedingly blustery day in Prague, while walking across the famous Charles Bridge that connects the city’s Old Town district and Prague Castle, again with sunglasses resting atop the bill (I know, I really don’t learn lessons very well), a gust blew them off and over a stone wall that was completed in the 15th century and into the swirling waters of the Vltava river that cleaves the city.
That necessitated my buying a new pair, as a matter of fact two because there was a sale, using euros instead of dollars, just across the border in Slovakia. Jane liked the tint of the lenses in one of the pairs, so I gave that pair to her. Within a matter of a few weeks, she’d lost them, no doubt, because I’d touched them.
As for the pair I kept, of course, a few months later, on a trip to St. Louis to catch the Cardinals, go up in the Arch and tour the brewery to see how my friends make that yummy Budweiser, I lost that pair as well in a good old-fashioned, mundane domestic incident, leaving them in a cup holder at Busch Stadium. Maybe the bill of my cap would have worked better than day.
I suppose I can afford my losses given the most I’ve ever paid for a pair of shades was $15. My sister once suggested as a Christmas gift a really fancy pair of $100-plus Barkley sunglasses with all the eyewear bells and whistles — 100 percent UV protection, impact resistance and anti-scratch coating. Obviously, I told her that would be a poor choice of presents given my past unless she relished the idea of flushing $100 down the toilet.
Once upon a time, back in 1986, a group named Timbuk3 joined that interesting list of one-hit wonders — a list that includes such names as The Hollywood Argyles, who gave us “Alley-Oop,” and The Edsels, who, thank the good Lord, gave us the deeply meaningful lyrics of “Rama Lama Ding Dong” — with a song called “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.”
While at 35 years old in ’86, I thought I was doing pretty well, I didn’t think what lay ahead was so stunning I had to wear shades, probably a good thing because I’m pretty sure I’d have lost them anyway.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News and Our Generation’s Magazine, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at [email protected]