Losing life, home more important that losing wallet

By By Ryan Shattuck

By Ryan Shattuck

I lost my wallet on TRAX a few weeks ago. Like any regular mature adult, I absolutely flipped out upon realizing that I didn’t know where my wallet was. I took my apartment apart to see if it was there. I tried to remember how much money was in my wallet (I think we all know the answer to that). I called my credit card companies and yelled at them to order me new cards. I might have punched a hole in the wall and it’s possible I even kicked my dog — despite the fact that he already knows the rules against being the perfect height for punting. In short, I went bat-defecation crazy. Needless to say, I cope with losing things as well as Dame Edna Everage copes with understatement.

Nothing is more frustrating than losing something, particularly something that we use on a regular basis. Scientists might be right about a lot of things, but looking into deep outer space for signs of a black hole won’t do them any good. May I suggest they search for a black hole on TRAX?

In addition to losing my wallet on TRAX several weeks ago, I also lost a cell phone a year ago and have probably lost enough money to buy a car, ironically. I always check with the lost and found department of the Utah Transportation Authority, but unfortunately nothing has turned up. Ever. For those who argue that the current Bush administration is one of the most inefficient organizations of the modern era, may I introduce the lost-and-found department of UTA?

I’m not alone in my frustration over lost items. We’re constantly looking for our keys, the remote control or our checkbook. We don’t know where the cat is, we don’t remember where we parked the car and we can’t find our toothbrushes. Sometimes it feels as though, with the time we spend looking for lost items, that life is simply one long scavenger hunt. An 80-or-so-year-long scavenger hunt. We hate to lose things and invent myriad of ridiculous objects to prevent this. If no one were to ever lose another thing again, Skymall would cease to exist. The idea of losing things and losing people is of such a national preoccupation that the most popular television show of a few years ago was a now-canceled television show titled “Lost.”

Oh, what’s that I’m told, the show “Lost” is still on the air? I apologize, I had no idea. True to its name, “Lost” is completely lost among viewers and critics. Talk about dedication to a theme.

I went this last week to Southern California to check up on my sister, who lives 15 perilous minutes away from the California wildfires of late October. Although my sister and her husband fortunately survived the evacuations and madness that had gripped all of Southern California, many others were not so lucky. In visiting San Diego, we had a chance to observe many of the neighborhoods that no longer exist. Whether wealthy neighborhoods, middle-class neighborhoods or poor neighborhoods, it was heartbreaking to see everything turned into charred skeletons of their former selves. What had once been bustling homes filled with the busy lives of regular people trying to balance work and family were now blackened ghost towns whose only color was that of the yellow police tape in which they were wrapped.

Returning from my bittersweet visit to Southern California this last week, I reflected on the countless things lost in the wildfires — things more priceless than a lost wallet. Yes, I was annoyed that I had to order new bank and credit cards and instead use cash for the week — but I realize my inconvenience does not hold a candle (no pun intended, really!) to those who lost their homes. We might be annoyed when we can’t find the remote control and might feel frustrated when we lose our checkbook. Regardless of these annoyances though, perhaps the recognition that a life can be lost or a home can be destroyed should be reason enough to not allow the trivial vexations of a lost item consume us.

If anything, perhaps such recognition should remind me to no longer take TRAX.

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