Good at losing; good at finding

April 10th, 2012 by John Morris

I am a talented loser of property.
Wallets, keys, tools and many other things often turn up missing. I know the real problem is I’m not attentive enough to my environment so I tend to forget what I did with my property. Having spent massive hours looking for lost items,
I’ve become a talented finder of property.

How do I go about finding stuff?

First thing is to bring in heavenly help. Cradle Catholics in my town, like me, would pray to Saint Anthony to help find lost items. The chant goes, “Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony please look around. Something is lost and can not be found.” If the item is found, we thank the patron saint of lost things for his intervention. If not, well we knew he tried.

Second thing to do is challenge my memory of recent events around the missing stuff. Whatever comes clearly to my mind’s eye gets me started. Everybody does this, but it’s the next step that brings home the lost prizes.

Like everyone else I look in any area where the item may have been. But I go deeper than this. Almost obsessively, I look everywhere even places where there is no chance of finding it. By doing this, I have found wallets in refrigerators and keys in old shoes deep in closets.

I also tenaciously believe I will find any lost item. It may come to me days later and when least expected. Although it does help to take a short break from looking so hard.

Next to last piece of advice: it is better to be more careful with your property than to become a savvy finder. But if your mind races beyond your control like mine, get more talented at looking hard for all those lost items.

Last piece of advice; if you really want to find the lost item, it helps to buy it’s non-refundable replacement. As soon as you get home with it, the lost one leaps from its cloaked location and into your disbelieving hands.

P.S.: I wrote this after finding my lost passport so I may be a little full of myself.

Not going gently into that good night

April 7th, 2012 by John Morris

Daughter Beth and her partner, Julie moved into a section of Brooklyn, New York City with real character. The area is loaded with boutique stores and small restaurants where shabby chic still rages. The travelers’ eyes can feast on the local architecture mixing baroque and late Victorian. It’s a fun outing but take a native with you to get the full effect.

Beth told me about a group of Brooklynites called “hipsters”. They are identified by their appearance statement. Such markings include weirded out clothes, hair or mode of transportation which are just off enough to get them noticed. They didn’t cluster together much. I imagine they want their qualifying appearance to not get drowned out.

I have since thought about the “hipsters of Brooklyn” and wondered if choosing to be different could work for aging baby boomers. After all, there is a whole bunch of us. We are at the sundown stage of our mid-life goals of raising a family or setting the commerce world on fire.

It would be beneficial for boomers to change their next path in life away from the lives we’ve lead for five decades and toward one where we are able to contribute by throttling back on the unimportant things.

My favorite example is how we get around. Cars cost an average of $24,000 and by the time it’s paid off, $40,000 has been spent. Then we have gas at $4.00/gallon. Factor in the insurance, tolls & upkeep, and we spend a lot to have a steel cocoon to take us to the pizza shop.

Boomers in retirement are well positioned to renounce personal vehicles and discover transportation methods that actually help the environment: bikes, buses and trains. We can get our daily – and necessary – exercise by walking to stores and restaurants.

Imagine if only 30% of my generation would accept these changes? Real and significant change can happen for the better. I think my single example will lead me to others. Maybe by the time I’m done, we’ll have a genuine new class of older Americans. Ones who make their journeys easier for them and the world.

They’ll live by the mantra: If I can’t help; I won’t hurt.


The old boy writing this blog wears many hats: Vietnam Veteran, husband & father, salesman and techno-dude. After my service with the Army Security Agency, I operated a sign company for nineteen years, The sign industry changed after CAD/CAM machines made the task easy enough for the non-talented. I sold my company and never looked back.

Life has granted me a life partner better than I deserve. My wife, Lyn is a transplanted Kansas gal. Her bliss is teaching kindergarten and first grade.

I am the most proud of my children. My son, Adam lives an international life teaching English and living in Sozhou, China. He is married to one of life's truly lovely women, Yuri Kim. My daughter, Beth grew up in a small town and found her way in life means working and living in major cities like Chicago and New York. She and her life partner, Julie Sterling married in LaJolla, California in 2010.

I like getting the newest gadgets, but also I like to use things until they are useless, i.e., my last personal car was an 88 Honda Prelude Si.

I wrote a Vietnam Veteran newsletter for nine years. During this journey, I learned I like to write. It is a harmless exercise that rewards honest effort while tolerating failure gracefully. I been away from it for too long. My son gave me the blog, and it was a lifeline back to writing.

My best advice is to show the world what you can do but to accept only your opinion of who and what you are.

Update: In August 2008, my job became one of the half-million jobs that went away that month. I took the following year getting the home ready for my official retirement.

In October 2009, I took a part-time job as a saleman at the vaulted Maxwell's Hardware.

On November 29, 2011, I reached my 66th birthday, and I officially started Social Security. I intend to stay with Maxwell's as long as I can contribute.