I’m a Retriever

I have become my puppy’s retriever. He drops his ball while running, it bounces under the sofa, and he barks a command for me to fetch. I retrieve his ball with a walking cane. He doesn’t give me a treat for my trick, but retrieving his ball pleases him, which pleases me. My habit of working to please others has a long history. 

I have become a retriever of personal items. I retrieve my wallet, eyeglasses, and cell phone from restaurants, banks, and homes of friends. I return to the office to retrieve items that I need at home, and return home to retrieve items that I need at the office. But I have a strategy for keeping track of keys, and I never lose them. My wife tells me, “You always say that when you lose your keys.” When I reply that she’s lost her mind, she reminds me that I’ve lost that too.

I place items that I cannot afford to lose in an obvious place so I can retrieve them. I put boarding passes and gift cards in my underwear drawer, on top of my Haynes briefs, because I open that drawer every morning. In sight…in mind. 

I still lose my train of thought, words from the tip of my tongue, and my pocket change when I tilt my driver’s seat back too far. I lose my place several times per hour when reading, I lose bookmarks, and sometimes I lose my books. I haven’t lost my Kindle, but I haven’t yet retrieved the charger.

I no longer lose bets because I stopped gambling at age 19. In my second year of college, I sold my used books back to the bookstore for cash because some fool was willing to bet straight up on the world series. The St. Louis Cardinals were defending champs and certain to win the series. Collecting on my bet would allow me to retrieve my books and have a surplus of cash. 

The Cardinals won the first three games, putting me in the position to retrieve my books and have extra cash after one more Cardinal victory. In a historic rally the Detroit Tigers won four straight games, and I dropped out of school. I lost not only the bet, I lost my books and my parents’ trust. 

But don’t call me a loser. I’m a retriever.

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