Sunday, May 28, 2006

Lost: The Final Season

Episode Nine: Look Once, Look Well

Don’t go round in circles. Once you’ve checked a site, don’t go back and check it again. No matter how promising a site—if the object wasn’t there the first time, it won’t be there the second.

Assuming, of course, that your first check was thorough.

Was it? If not, go back and do it again—thoroughly.

Episode Ten: Eureka Zone

The majority of lost objects are right where you figure—once you take a moment to stop and figure.Others, however, are in the immediate vicinity of that place. They have undergone a displacement—a shift in location that, although minor, has served to render them invisible.

Some examples:

A pencil has rolled beneath a typewriter.

A tool has been shoved to the rear of a drawer.

A book on a shelf has gotten lodged behind other books.

A folder has been misfiled, several folders away from where it belongs.

Objects are apt to wander. I have found, though, that they tend to travel no more than eighteen inches from their original location. To the circle described by this eighteen-inch radius I have given a name. I call it the Eureka Zone.

Episode Eleven: Tail Thyself

If you still haven’t found you object, it may be time to Recreate the Crime. Remove your thinking cap and don your detective’s cap. For you are about to follow your own trail. Let’s create a typical scenario. You come home from work and find a letter in the mail. Some time later you’re ready to read it…but it’s missing. You’re perturbed and perplexed. Where’s that letter?

Okay, start at the door and retrace your steps since returning home. Where in the house did you go? To what specific locations? Stop at each of them and look for the letter.

Hmm, a coat thrown across a chair. You were here. (Check under the coat and in its pockets.) A depression in the sofa. You were here. On the kitchen counter, a glass. You were here. On the table by the armchair, candy wrappers and a novel. You were here. And marking your place in the novel—aha! That missing letter.

Episode 12: It Wasn’t You

When all else has failed, explore the possibility that your object hasn’t been misplaced. Rather, it’s been misappropriated. Perhaps someone you know has borrowed your umbrella. Or eaten your doughnut. Or taken your magazine into another room.
Approach that person and inquire if such might not be the case. (“Have you by any chance seen my…?” is a tactful way to phrase this.)


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