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Born To Lose

Andy RooneyI'm a world-class loser.

There are very few people better at losing things than I am.

I was getting into bed and I thought to myself, "Maybe losing stuff would make a column." So I scribbled some notes about it on a piece of paper, turned out the lights and went to sleep.

I can't find the piece of paper I wrote the notes on about losing things. I got down on my hands and knees and looked under the bed. Nothing. It's not mixed in with the sheets. It's not in my pajama pocket and it isn't on my dresser. I'll find it in a week from now.

Over the years, I've lost thousands of things. One reason I lose so much is that I have so much. I am an acquirer of things, a possessor. Once I get something, I keep it...unless I lose it, of course. It's hard to find a place to put all of my possessions, so they're just left around. They tend to get lost or, perhaps, covered over by other possessions.

My shoehorn was gone this morning. I had to stand there trying to worm my feet into my shoes without breaking down the backs.

I lose fingernail clippers at a great rate...and sunglasses.

If I need a screwdriver, I can only find the one with the Phillips head when I'm dealing with a single-slot screw. And, naturally, vice versa. Where do all the flashlights I buy go?

Someone gave me a beautiful fountain pen for my birthday. I can't find it. I don't use it; I just don't want to lose it.

At this very moment, I cannot find my driver's license. I'm driving 150 miles upstate and it's illegal to drive without a license, but I'm going to make the trip anyway.

"I really do have a license," I'll explain to the policeman if I'm stopped for speeding. "I just can't find it."

This goes over big with policemen. I know because I've tried it before.

I have regular places where I look for things I can't find. They're never in those places where I look. We have dozens of little drawers in tables and chests around the house, and I always look in those for things I can't find. Nothing. I've looked in those drawers 10,000 times and have yet to find a single missing item. I don't know why I persist in looking in them.

In the office, my editor is good at finding things but he often doesn't realize I've lost what he finds, so he doesn't tell me he has it, so the items are just the same as lost as far as I'm concerned.

Several years ago, I got a small lump of money for one of my books, so I decided to invest it in the stock market. Someone knowledgeable about money told me to buy Exxon. I bought the stock. It did very well, but a short time after I bought Exxon I decided to sell my shares. I'd wanted to sell, but I couldn't find the stock certificates.

I called the man who sold me the stock and he said there was a process I could go through to recover my stock without the certificates. It would cost me about 1 percent of the stock's value. This fellow sent me a letter describing how to go about the process, but I can't find the letter.

Things are even easier to lose in the freezer than in the main part of the refrigerator. If our refrigerator could be preserved for scientists in the year 3,000, they'd find a treasure trove of gustatory Americana in there that I've lost.

My idea of heaven would be to die and awaken in a place that has all my lost things.

(Write to Andy Rooney at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207, or via email at aarooney5@yahoo.com)

(c) 2009 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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