In Which I Continue My Diatribe About the Male Inability to Locate Anything

It chills me to the bone to think the fate of the free world often rests in the hands of men.  No disrespect to our servicemen; my daddy served three tours in Vietnam and my older brother served in the first Gulf Disaster…uh…I mean war.  But based on the behavior of the men living in my home, I shudder just a bit. 

Picture if you will, a “Saving Private Ryan” sort of tableau:  it’s gray and misty and our brave boys are about to storm Fallujah to bring democracy and toys made in China to the godless infidels.  As they prepare their offensive, the sergeant comes up to the CO and says “Sir, where is the ammunition?”  The ammunition is in a clearly labeled box in plain sight, but the two men waste fifteen minutes searching for it.  Finally, the lone woman in the unit walks up and leads them to the box.  Meanwhile, the enemy was preparing to  pick up and relocate to Pakistan, only they couldn’t find it and no one would stop and ask for directions!

Fast forward to my life.  Last week, my son could not find the mouthpiece for his horn.  The last place it had been seen was on the dining room table, which is, of course, where all musicians keep their mouthpieces.  I apprised him of this and he told me he had taken it up to his room. 

“Then it should still be there,” I told him.

“Well, it’s not,” he huffed.  “Someone took it.”

Oh lord, it’s the grassy knoll….someone waited on it, until he was out of sight, and then snatched his mouthpiece!  Because there is a high demand on the black market for horn mouthpieces!

He stomped around the house for about two hours, looking for the thing.  He would periodically stop on his way through the family room and gaze at the football game, eyes blank, a line of spittle snaking its way out of his slack mouth.  Then I would bark at him to find his mouthpiece and he would snap awake, and scurry away.

The whole time he was searching, I sat and watched him.  He whined.  He moaned.  He blamed aliens for coming down and taking it.  More amusing to me, he blamed the babies.  A few nights before, a couple of friends had visited with their toddlers.  Everyone knows toddlers are like crows and they can’t resist shiny things.  Surely one of the toddlers had pocketed the mouthpiece.

When he shared this theory with me, something within me snapped.  “SON,” I stated rather forcefully, “if the thing was on your desk, THEY COULDN’T REACH IT!!!!”

He looked at me sullenly and said “so what, I still bet one of those babies has it.”

It’s not a right wing conspiracy at all; it’s those BABIES!!  I thought I had fallen into an episode of “Rugrats” and he was channeling Angelica. 

After two hours, I couldn’t take it anymore.  He was on the verge of tears.  I mentioned the possibility of borrowing another mouthpiece from the band teacher and he said he would get in trouble. I mentioned the possibility of sending him to military school and he glared at me.  Finally, reluctantly, I got up to help.

As we ascended the stairs, I looked at him and said “If I find this thing, you are in SO MUCH TROUBLE!!!”  I walked into his reptile scented room (does Glade have a plug-in with that scent??) and walked to the desk.  It’s not really a desk; it is a long countertop we got at Lowe’s for cheap.  He has covered it with an array of memorabilia, ranging from baseball cards to holy cards to alligator skulls. 

When I tell you I literally walked up to the desk, scanned for five seconds, and located the mouthpiece, I am not exaggerating.  It sat there in plain sight, between a picture of the Pope and one of Greg Maddox.  I thought for a moment I would actually swoon, so intense was the rage I experienced.  I plucked it from the clutter and held it up for him to see.

He smirked, but I could see the panic in his eyes; he sensed death was near.  “Wha….where….was it on the desk????” he stammered.

I handed it to him oh so lovingly and quietly said “I DO NOT WANT TO TALK TO YOU AGAIN TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!”  And I left the room.

So after that little episode, you would think he would know better than to bother me, but a few days later, I was driving to soccer practice and the phone rings.  “Mom,” he chirps, “Dad can’t find his boy scout scarf; do you know where it is?” 

“Tell him it’s probably behind the cheese,” I snapped and hung up.  Honestly, it’s a wonder either one of them manages to get through an entire day.  My husband operates on animals for heaven’s sake!  I’m waiting for the day he calls me and says “honey, I can’t find the left ovary in this pit bull, do you know where it is?”

Last night, his daddy asked him to get a coke out of the refrigerator.  I just rolled my eyes and waited; there was one left and I knew my son wouldn’t be able to find it.  Sure enough, he came back to the table empty handed.  “I couldn’t find one,” he said.  I didn’t say a word because I knew it wouldn’t be a nice word.  But thirty minutes later, I walked over to the refrigerator and pulled it out.  The only reason I didn’t do it earlier was because I was saving it for myself!

So I live in fear, knowing the day will come when he leaves home and goes off into the great big world.  I only hope he can find it!!



  1. Gina
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    What timing you have. This morning Joe asked me if we had any lunchmeat left in the kitchen freezer. Without pause, I continued making Anastasia’s lunch and said yes. He immediately said, “Where? I looked for it and it’s not in there.” I said yes it is and opened the freezer, stuck my hand in the offending freezer and without even looking and pulled it out and waved it in front of him. Then I asked him if he would like the cheese that wasn’t in there, too. He contritely nodded and said, “Yes, please.” I feel your pain.

  2. Posted September 12, 2007 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    You? Funny!!!

    This sounds just like my husband. I’ve given up on him now, though, as I’m sure there’s no hope for improvement. Maybe it’s not too late for your son…

    The jury’s still out on Punkin’, but I’m hoping by staying at home with him and trying desperately to be his main influence that he’ll avoid being so hopeless.

  3. Kiki
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I have to say its the same here! Not sure yet about the prince since he’s only 6 and hasn’t developed the skills for doing anything for himself yet (he’s a spoiled, late bloomin’, baby brother, okay!) but he usually comes to me urgently asking me to find Darth Vader or the missing piece to his K’Nex helicopter before even looking himself. With direction, all four children in the household can usually be led to the “missing” item. I sent the almost 12 yo into the teenager’s room to get her Bible to look at something last night and she promptly returned saying “she doesn’t know where it is.” I turned her right around and said “tell her to get up off her butt and open up her bottom desk drawer, that’s where it is. And don’t come back without it.” Almost 12 yo returned less than 30 seconds later with the Bible. Amazing! I chalk a lot of it it up to sheer laziness!
    My husband on the other hand…well, he’s just stupid, I guess! The sad thing is, I can even locate items in our cluttered, unorganized household long distance over the phone! That he’s misplaced! Perhaps it’s lack of memory, I’m not sure, but it definitely goes hand in hand with not stopping to ask for directions no matter how lost you are and how much gas you’re wasting!

  4. Teensy
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Yep. MY son claims someone always takes the item he can’t find. Someone must have taken it! My husband is like the rest too. Should be CFS- can’t find sh@#. Sometimes I think my oldest girl is getting it. She is in rehab for it now.

  5. Nancy McCrite
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    As a mom I have decided it is my job to be keeper of all stuff. I live in fear of a terminal illness because my family would just wander around in a fog dazed and confused.

  6. Dr. Renee
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Teensy, I have an example of the ‘stolen’ item from today. Alas, it’s my 12YOD. “Someone stole my tennis shoes today.” “Sweetie, nasty tennis shoes are not typically stolen from an elementary school. I’m sure you just misplaced them.” “Nu-uh! Someone took them!” Sure enough, later in the day, her morning carpool called to report that the ‘stolen’ shoes were in their car. It’s not just the Y chromosome. Maybe it’s because we are all such fabulous wondermoms that our charges don’t learn to forage for themselves. It’s our job to teach them forging skills and not pull the hidden cheese out for them every time. I especially loved J’s response to the ‘lost’ Coke; just keep it for yourself!

  7. Bill
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I am beginning to feel out of place around here.

  8. Posted September 12, 2007 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Renee, do you remember that crazy woman who came to one of our Circle meetings to teach us how to get organized? She said she was moved to change her life because one morning her husband didn’t have a clean, freshly ironed shirt — and it was All Her Fault because she’d been too busy taking care of their children. IIRC, you and I shared an eyeroll and the opinion that he could have washed and ironed his own damn shirt. Of course, that’s assuming he could find it — and the laundry room.

  9. Teensy
    Posted September 13, 2007 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    Yeah, it’s not just my kids!!!!

  10. Kiki
    Posted September 13, 2007 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Kathy-I love the All Her Fault comment! I doubt he could find the iron or even knew how to operate it or the washer and dryer! My husband is not allowed to do laundry–he did it once a long time ago–everything cam eback with big bleach splotches on it. Do you think he did it on purpose so I would insist on doing it ALWAYS in the future???????

  11. Posted September 13, 2007 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Yeah, Kiki, and I think laundry dysfunction is similar to what you sometimes see in the workplace, where you’ll find men with copy machine phobia and coffeemaker anxiety.

  12. mother fant
    Posted September 13, 2007 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    OH BOY, I have one to compare, that happened just last night! I had been at school all afternoon, for my volunteer job, with the 6 & 3 year old in hand, running all over the place as if they had just recharged their energizer batteries, with no off button I may add. Then on to choir to try and catch the quiet 12 year old singing a solo. Needless to say I didn’t make it. When I realized the time and that I was supposed to have the 10 year old home to get ready for the “pro” football practice (or at least that is how these fathers act), I had to call my husband to tell him to gather the football attire when he got home and stop by the school to pick him up. Well, you would have thought I had just asked him to cut off his right arm. He was all uptight because he had no idea where to find anything. SO I led him through, step by step to find the many articles of clothing. After seeing eyes roll and lots of heavy breathing, he picked up our boy and took him to practice…did I mention he is the coach?? Then it was off to Hoover for dance. I sat in the car with the 6 & 3 year old for the full hour, because I had no where to go and couldn’t make it home and back in time. When I arrived home, my hubby and the pro football player were already there. My husband says to me “G is in the shower, but we couldn’t find him any underwear. Do you know where they might be?” I asked where he had looked. He said everywhere. I told him they were in the drawer in his closet. He said, “well I didn’t think to look there!” Imagine that!

  13. Teensy
    Posted September 13, 2007 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    That’s too funny, Momma Fant!!! That’s how my sweet hubby is. It’s usually in the most obvious place, poor things. But I will say, I worked weekends once, many moons ago, and my sweet husband had to learn to do laundry. He trained up well. ; ) Now he really is a help with it. I am truly blessed!!!

  14. Kiki
    Posted September 14, 2007 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Mamafant–next time you’re in Hoover, head over to the library–lots of computers/toys/books in the kids section for the little ones, pick up a magazine and sit down and watch. The kiddie section is not a quiet zone, either–so you don’t have to worry about them being noisy–or talking too much much!

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