What really matters? I can’t remember

Jim Lee: PNT columnist

Sometimes I forget things.
Wait a minute, I should correct that statement. After all, I need to be specific and accurate here — if I can remember how to do that.
I rarely have difficulty remembering things from a long time ago, or other things that don’t really matter. The real problem is that things that matter are almost always something recent. Does that make it fair to call me absent-minded and disorganized?
If someone asks me the name of the 14th president of the United States, I correctly come up with Franklin Pierce. If someone asks for the name of the county seat of Ingham County, Mich., I can instantly come up with the city of Mason. The trouble is that here on the High Plains, that particular county seat doesn’t really matter a whole lot, and nobody cares much about Franklin Pierce.
I have no trouble remembering just about anything that doesn’t matter. The problem is that remembering something that doesn’t matter — well, doesn’t matter.
The cat doesn’t care if I know the names in chronological order of all the English monarchs since 1483 if I can’t find his toy mouse under the refrigerator. Being correct on 10 consecutive Jeopardy! clues won’t help me remember where I left my right shoe.
Because of this I get called absent-minded and/or disorganized. Hey, come on, is that fair? Just because I stumble around in confusion over where I put things and forget names are no reasons to … Well, just because I fail to remember some things doesn’t make me forgetful. Any problems arising out of what others call absent-mindedness is simply a dastardly plot. Somebody is messing with my mind. What else could it be?
Now take my misplaced keychain for example. It had the car key, the keypad thing that locks doors (what the car dealership calls a “fob”), two work keys, and the house key. I suddenly couldn’t find that keychain.
Oops, no keys. Those pesky little rascals were nowhere to be found. I figured out there was no such place as nowhere. But if there was no nowhere, they had to be somewhere. So I looked everywhere and couldn’t find them anywhere. This left me only one solution: Blame Saundra.
I put my undeserving wife on such a guilt trip I almost felt guilty over it. While I was at work, Saundra replaced the car key and fob. Since the key had one of those electronic whatsits inside it somehow, the car dealership was the only place to get it. The problem was the car dealership knew that and priced the thing accordingly.
I won’t reveal the name of the dealership or what town it’s in, but I’d sure like to. The key cost about $30. The fob cost about $80. (My pocket calculator only cost two bucks and has a lot more buttons.) Then came the programming fees. Next, labor charges and tax. It came to more than $200. Then I went through the key replacement ordeal at work.
A couple of weeks later I couldn’t find a particular floppy disk for the evil computer contraption that enriches my life. When I looked for it in my briefcase, guess what I found? I tried to sneak the keychain into a kitchen drawer so Saundra could “find” where I could claim she put it, but I got caught.
I now have a spare set of very expensive keys and a psychologically abused wife, but that does not mean I’m absent-minded or disorganized, right?
By the way, has anyone seen a blue floppy disk?

Jim Lee is news director for KENW-FM radio. He also is an English instructor. He can be contacted at 359-2204. His e-mail: