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The Dog Ate My Homework

Heading out to dinner last Friday night.  I began scooping up my things — car keys, phone, reading glasses,


Time for a new wallet, looks like

mask — but I didn’t see my wallet in the drawer by the front door where I usually leave it.

“Have you seen my wallet lying around?” I asked Carol.  She, of course, gave me the look.  The one that means, Oh my God, again?!  And also, How many times have I told you to get some sort of carry-bag so you can keep your stuff together?

To me, though, it was no big deal.  Yes, this does happen to me all the time — so much so that I don’t even begin to panic.  Because I’m always able to find what’s missing.  I have a very sane, deliberate, foolproof process I cycle through to locate the item in question — like a quarterback going through his progressions.  First, I visualize the last moment I used or saw the missing wallet, keys, whatever: In this case, I remember having it in the back pocket of my jeans as I wrestled with my grandsons.  Then, I recreate that day, recalling — and searching through — everything I wore, every spot I visited, every drawer I might have opened since that moment.  Works every time.  Which is a good thing, because I absolutely hate losing things, and my brain gets stuck in neutral till I find them.

So . . . I checked the back pocket of the jeans I was wearing when I played with the boys, as well as the pouch of the red Jack’s Coffee hoodie I had on, as well.  No luck.  I remembered that I’d ridden over to their house on my bike, so maybe the saddle bag?  Not there either.  Ah — later that same day I’d gone car shopping.  Could it have slipped out of my pocket onto the seat of my Jeep?  Uh . . . nope.  I even called the two dealerships I’d stopped in to check if possibly the wallet had wound up in one of the cars I’d test driven.  Sorry, they told me, we don’t see it anywhere.

Hmm.  My foolproof process didn’t seem to be working so well.  I gave up on my step-by-step scientific method and began freelancing.  Checking every closet I frequently use.  Every chair — even under the cushions — I frequently sit on.  Every inch of  not only the car I’d been driving, but Carol’s car, too — which of course made no sense at all.  Totally random surfaces, because you know how sometimes you put something down when you’re looking for something else?  That didn’t work either.


Crime scene

I spent the whole weekend obsessing.  By Monday, though I wasn’t ready to concede defeat, it was clearly time to move on.  It occurred to me that we were just one week from Election Day, and wallet-less, I’d have no identification.  I spent quite a bit of time on the phone.  Westport Town Clerk.  Registrar of Voters.  Department of Motor Vehicles.  Credit card companies.  Made good progress.  Got the ball rolling.

Tuesday afternoon I was sitting on the front porch in the sun doing some writing when Steve the Lawn Guy came up to me with a sheepish look and handed me . . . something.  It was my wallet, along with all its contents — shredded, soaked, and unusable.  “Found it in the backyard,” he said, “after I ran over it with the lawnmower.”

I thought this through.  The only time I’m in the backyard is when I play fetch with Kemba.  So the wallet must have slipped out of my pocket when I bent over to pick up his ball!

Steve seemed to think I’d be upset, but on the contrary, I felt relieved.  Finally, I could stop searching.  I could tell Carol I hadn’t left it somewhere, as she’d smugly assumed.

And I could blame the whole thing on the dog.


Hank Herman