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January 7, 2008 |

Post to the Host:
I'm your age and as you most likely by now know, absentmindedness has become a fellow traveler. My brother cautioned me to not leave valuables in the rental car while my wife and I spent this past Christmas on Maui, which I followed to the letter. Only to leave my camera bag containing a couple expensive cameras, gear, two 1GB of vacation pictures, and a copy of your "Pontoon" in the back seat of the taxi cab after being dropped off at home from the airport. I feel so stupid and helpless. How are you dealing with this ... this curse?

David P.
Las Vegas, NV

I've been absent-minded since childhood, David, so it's not a crisis for me, just a condition of life. Once, in May of 1974, in the train station of Portland, Oregon, I forgot a briefcase containing a story about a small town, and never got it back, and the pain of that loss led (sort of) to my telling stories about Lake Wobegon on the radio. Irritation can breed creativity. But these days I simply accept that eyeglasses are a disposable item and so are house keys and pens. I never buy expensive pens anymore. The one thing I can't forget is my laptop computer which has my life in it, and even that I have come very close to losing several times. I hope you got your camera bag back with the vacation pictures. If not, you will have to consider the disposable camera. We can't chain these things to us, otherwise we'll look like Marley's Ghost. Live lightly and keep reminding yourself to stop and check the campsite before moving off down the trail.

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