Thursday, January 7, 2010

St. Anthony Where Are You?

I wish I could be compensated for time spent looking for misplaced items. I could retire! Trailing behind me there is a long train of lost objects that goes back to my childhood. Included are multiple pairs of glasses, rings, bracelets, books (of course) and countless other items. I guess the problem is exacerbated by my age, but it is really hard to say because I have always been a loser (of stuff). Since I became a full time computer geek, the problem has become worse. I cannot think of a single gizmo that is not accompanied by at least one losable cord, cable, or peripheral. If there is a computer tech or librarian out there who does not have a drawer filled with cords, cables, cards, remotes, connectors, and other appurtenances, I would like to meet him/her. On second thought, no I wouldn't. Such a being would be far too smug for my taste. Right now I am looking for the power cord for my Kindle. I know it is white. That helps. I know it has a little squished down connector on the end that plugs into the reader. That doesn't help, because I STILL CAN'T FIND IT! Right now I am petitioning St. Anthony big time. If you are not already asking this saint for help, I can attest to his power. Several years ago a friend introduced him to me when she lost the diamond out of her wedding ring at a sidewalk restaurant in New York. She frantically searched and then said the following prayer:

St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come around
Something's been lost
That needs to be found!

After repeating this, she reached into her pocket. There was the diamond! It had evidently snagged on the threads in our pocket and then nestled there awaiting discovery. I am not making this up. A day or two later, on the same trip, I lost a nerdy ear ring, a little gold abacus which had I bought at the Museum of Fine Arts. Trudging back to our dorm that night, I looked down right outside the front door and saw something bright winking up at me. Yep, it was the ear ring. It had been lying there for hours, evidently getting stepped on a few times because it was a little scratched and bent. I liked it even more that way!

Back in my full time school librarian days, I had a box filled with objects I was afraid to throw away. One of the things I promised I would do before leaving that job was going through that box, get rid of old items, and label the others. And I did it. I had to summon courage and throw away a lot of stuff including Apple IIc cards, remotes form long retired monitors, VCR's, etc. I am moved to wax nostalgic for a minute when thinking of those good old Apple IIc's. Remember when you could just pop the lid and monkey around in the innards? I LOVED that. It made me feel so....powerful. Ah well, in actuality I was pretty organized at school. I had an aide and student assistants to help me, and I was committed to getting things right in the library. Incidentally students are great at this! Every once in a while I liked to turn some of my tecchie assistants loose with the box of mystery items and challenge them to match them up with their parent appurtenances. Bribing with candy is a great motivator but really kids liked this job was a bit like hunting for Easter eggs.

As a prof, for a number of years I had a special day in our beginning tech class called "equipment day." Among other things, I talked about the problem of keeping up with connectors, etc. My motto for students was "Label your cables." The other admonishment code everything. If librarians follow these two maxims they will have greater success in keeping things together. Using velcro attachments for remotes also helps a little bit, but the labeling and bar coding are crucial.

Alas, I did not practice at home what I preached at work and in the classroom. That is why I am in my present fix. I know exactly what the Kindle cord looks like. Labeling it would be nice, but it would not fix my present dilemma of WHERE THE *&*&^%#%# IS IT ANYWAY? Contributing to the present problem is the fact that I boxed and moved everything out of my study last weekend in order to pull up carpet and get down to the hardwood floor. The result of that is more than worth the effort. And I am 99% sure I will find the cord when I get around to unpacking the boxes and restoring order to the room. The silver lining is twofold: First, needing the cord will inspire me to unpack and set up things again. Second, looking for lost things almost always yields one positive byproduct of such a search: I always find other stuff I have been looking for!

PS Anybody have additional tips for keeping up with stuff?


  1. Hi Mary Ann,

    While I by no means have a perfect track record for not losing things, I've really forced myself into a "place for everything, everything in its place" mentality.

    With as much traveling as I do with computers, cables, remotes, etc., I am almost superstitious about putting things in their own place in my computer bag - the same thing in the same pocket EVERYTIME. I also also buy duplicate power plugs, VGA adaptors, etc. so I can leave one set in my bag, one on my desk and have one at home.

    I apply this to keys, cellphone, iPod etc as well, putting each in a designated place every time. Works OK about 95% of the time.

    Good luck and let all of us know if you discover a method.


  2. I thought I remembered the "label all your cords" comment from someone, now I remember it was you! Hmmm, can't think of anything else-like Doug's idea of buying duplicates, my husband does that for his shaving kit. St. Anthony is THE guy-please help Dr. Bell find her power cord!! Amen