Fitting campaign slogan for what’s missing

If my dad would have ever run for political office, his campaign slogan might have been something radically reasonable like “Put Things Back Where They Belong.”

I think that’s kind of catchy, actually — appropriate and applicable.

He was sort of a stickler for a practice such as that, a simple and guaranteed stress-prevention habit to adopt if you had enough sense to do so.

Not a big deal really and not hard to carry out and follow through on but not everyone gets that big picture, however. Such offenders resistant to order on the planet in general and under one roof specifically are rebels in need of take-and-return intervention. A little show-and-tell seminar might be helpful under such circumstances perhaps.

I grew up to know there were certain places for certain things in our household, and if they weren’t there to be found and accessed and used as needed, when needed, you could expect to be on the suspect list for T.G.M. — Things Gone Missing.

This presumption of guilt until proving yourself innocent would be worse than having, for instance, your mug shot hanging in a post office for all the mail-collecting community to look away from in horror — unless it’s a really, really, flattering picture, I suppose.

Important things that should always be in their rightful place were the makings of a potentially lengthy list, each preceded by the article adjective “the,” which means they’re really, really important things not to lose.

“The” flashlight, the one that actually works

The measuring tape.

The “good” scissors.

The hammer.

The car keys.

The comb.

The shoe polish kit (does anybody even use those any more?)

The toe nail clippers.

The tweezers.

The ladder.

The extension cord.

Etc., etc.

If something wasn’t in its place where it was supposed to be, I don’t remember any head scratching and comments to the effect “Now, what did I do with that?”

It was more in the vein of “I wonder who took that?” or “Now where did that run off to,” as if all these inanimate objects had a set of legs and feet firmly fitted in jogging shoes.

These were times for any child interested in self-preservation to do one of three things — Fess up, admit your guilt and produce what’s missing; tip-toe away in a cowardice fashion and hone your hide-and-seek skills; or join in the search and be a big old brownie — i.e., make yourself useful.

I’d have to say the childhood education of putting things back in their place didn’t entirely follow me into adulthood.

I’d probably get a “C” if there were a report card for this or a “U” for unsatisfactory.

In our house, we pretty much put stuff in the same spot unless we put it somewhere else for optimum misplacement.

And when we seek what can’t be immediately found, we tend to fall victim to saying “I just saw that some place.”

How inconveniently vague that is when you can’t quite put your finger on something that would be useful to have at the moment, like Scotch tape or a stamp or a little sanity.

Or we say — “It’s got to be somewhere.”

Probably not the greatest campaign slogan.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)


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