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Anybody Got A Pen?

June 21, 2008 - John Whittaker

Why is it I never have a pen and notepad handy when I really need one?

It's no secret that if I don't write something down, in 10 minutes, it's gone, forgotten. I personally think it gets eaten by my bald spot, which has to be eating something since it grows like an 8-year-old on a McDonald's eating binge. I think it eats all my good ideas, like the Cookie Monster.

Or, the hair was keeping all my ideas inside my head and, now that I've got a noticeable bald spot, it's like leaving the lid off a jar of water. The ideas just evaporate into thin air.

For example, on Thursday night, the News Gal and I went shopping and saw all sorts of stuff we wanted for our apartment after we get married. I remember telling her, "I'd love this _________" or "Wouldn't this look great in our living room?" I know we were talking about some dishes we wanted, but, here it is, two days later, and I can't remember specifically what we were talking about. If I went to buy them right now, I'd probably buy something we looked at Thursday and said I'd hated.

There are times I'll be driving around and see something that would make a good story for one of our reporters. By the time I get home or back to the office, GONE. That's one reason why my desk is usually covered with papers and folders. I print out announcements of anything that I might want to send a reporter to in the future so it gets put on my desk calendar, serving as a reminder of what's coming up in the community. If it's not in a folder, it doesn't exist. And, I'm running to the AP Stylebook for things that I swear I knew, no problem, five years ago.

Here's the kicker. I know, without looking it up, that Don Mattingly hit .352 in 1986 and didn't win the batting title because Wade Boggs begged out of the lineup in the last week, freezing his average at .357, I can remember movie lines from the 1980s like I just saw the movie yesterday. I remember, vividly, watching Al Leiter's major league debut with the Yankees in 1987 against the Brewers - a 4-3 win with 8 strikeouts.

And, I can remember, maybe not exact dates, but rough dates of stories and who I talked to, quotes and phrases I used in them. Phone numbers for sources I haven't talked to in five years - still up there. It drives Chris Kinsler, our region editor, nuts.

Remembering such inane minutiae is no problem at all.

Remembering a set of dishes I wanted to buy or what candleholder looked the best for the altar at our wedding? What, we looked at dishes. They looked like what? They were how much? I really liked them? Really? Huh?

Wait, I'm engaged? When did that happen? BLAST!

I've heard the mind is always the first thing to go, but this is getting just plain ridiculous.


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