Wednesday, January 26, 2011

i couldn't find my butt with both hands

The Southern sayin' backstory:
I know the overriding characteristic of my writing here is sophistication, so this may come as a surprise to friends of the blog, but I come from a rural background.  I grew up living eight miles outside of a town of roughly 1700 people.  We had one county school, and I graduated in a class of about fifty-two.  Not only is my hometown as podunk as they come, I come from an ancestry that is a mixture of Kentucky hill people and Tennessee dirt farmers.  Because education has been a fairly high priority in my family for two or three generations now, I can largely pass for a mostly normal, non-hick person.  Much of the time I'm even allowed to forget about this ridiculously country accent I have.  But every so often, I find myself in a situation that can only be summed up in the dialect of my youth; some quaint, down home saying comes out of my mouth, and I embrace my true self.  Today is one of those days:

I couldn't find my butt with both hands.

Perhaps, imaginary readers, you'll recall that I have from time to time used this forum to enumerate the many talents and virtues of my dear moma.  It's no secret that I'm a fan.  But today I've been forcibly reminded of one of her skills that has thus far gone unacknowledged here at the opinions.  My moma can find anything, anywhere.  She's the best finder I know.  It's impressive, but an unintended consequence of her mad locating skills (skillz?) is that I'm one of the worst finders ever, and it just so happens that there's a sayin' we have back home for just such an occasion.  I couldn't find my butt with both hands.  This means just what you think it means, friends.  The sayin' is used to desribe a person who is so poor at observing the world around him or her that he or she is literally incapable of locating his or her own backside even with the aid of both hands.

I lose things like it's my job, and for most of my formative years, I never made much effort to find them because my bloodhound of a moma could sniff out missing toys, shoes, and books in about a quarter of the time it would take me to wander around aimlessly "looking."

The most famous couldn't find my butt with both hands moment occurred when I was in college.  I used to carry my student ID and driver's license and cash (when I had it) in a holder that was attached to my keychain.  In my day, Harding girls didn't carry purses, so anything I deemed important got shoved into this holder and carried around with me.  It made for bulky keys, but it fit easily into the front pocket of my backpack and could also fit into a jacket or pants pocket as needed.  Unfortunately, I didn't like it in my pocket, so I usually took it out and set it on a table or my cafeteria tray or the songbook rack in the Benson, and as you might have imagined, I often left this important little bundle--my life on a keyring--in places all over campus.  On one such occasion, when I discovered my keys were missing, I retraced my steps all over the place, emptied out my backpack, and turned out the pockets of anything I'd worn for days.  Feeling sorry for myself and deeply embarrassed by my own stupidity, I called my moma to whine.  True to form, she began to suggest all the things I could do and places I could look.  I petulantly answered each of her suggestions.  (Of course, I looked in my backpack.  No, they weren't under the bed.  Yes, I'd retraced my steps.)  Then she suggested looking on the closet shelf.  That got my most contemptuous response yet.  (No, they weren't on the closet shelf.  Why would I put them there?  My keys are never on the closet shelf.)  She very patiently suggested I look anyway.  I flounced over to the closet confident that I'd get to be even more scathing in my reply once I'd looked there, and guess what was lying in plain sight on the closet shelf:  my stupid missing keys.  So it's not exaggeration when I say my moma can find anything.  She once found my keys from 300 miles away.  "Did you check the closet shelf?" has become an oft-repeated reminder in our family of just how good she is (and just how bad I am) at finding things.  [Insider's note:  it was "behind the rollers" before we had behind the rollers.]  So seeing as how I'm one of those folks who couldn't find their butt with both hands, I find myself on the horns of a dilemma.

I've been in denial about this for a few days, but it's time I face the truth.  My phone charger is missing.  The facts (with a bit of editorializing because I can't help myself) of the case are these:
  • I "know" I had it during our snow days two weeks ago.  I can "remember" being inconvenienced by the need to be plugged in (or maybe I'm remember that about my laptop but it feels like my phone), but I can't remember using it since.  
  • I definitely didn't take it to Kentucky for Pinkie's birthday because I realized I hadn't packed it and used my car charger instead.  
  • When I got home, I actively looked for it a couple times, but couldn't find it in any of the usual places--my work bag, plugged in to the outlet strip by my bed-side table, or lying in the floor near the couch outlet in the living room (yes, those are the places where my charger lives).  
  • I expanded my search to include unusual places because even though I can "remember" using it since Christmas, I can't shake the nagging feeling that I never unpacked it from my Christmas travels.  So I've fruitlessly looked in every bag/luggage/container that made that trip.
  • On Sunday when my phone was desperately low on battery, I convinced myself that I had taken it to work and left it plugged in there and once again used my car charger.  
  • On Monday thanks to a timely reminder from my favorite blogging brother, I remembered to look around for the charger at work.  No joy there.
  • Last night I double-checked all the places I think it could be at home, and it still hasn't turned up.
I'm at a loss.  Truthfully, I am better at finding things than I used to be, but the current disorganization of my house doesn't lend itself to ease in locating missing items.  And today I remembered the two sets of headphones that were stolen from my desk at work during the summer, and I'm concerned that the phone charger is just the latest casualty.  But there's hope!  My moma is coming into town this weekend (though be advised, potential burglars--she and the Popster will be leaving large, hungry, rabid dogs at their house so don't use that announcement as license to steal from them), so I'm sure she's going to be able to find it for me.  She knows I'm useless in situations like this, so I'll just stick to looking for my butt and wait on her.


  1. I did NOT know the key story, so thanks for holding it back to keep things fresh. I love your Momma and her ability to find things! :)

  2. Did you look on the closet shelf??? AND if I didn't find myself in the brilliant spotlight of this well known blog, I could be just a tad put off by you references to my hickiness!

  3. Ellen:

    You may not be good at finding things, but you did a great of explaining why my bookmark for your favorite blogging brother did not show his latest post.

    While reading your Moma's comment, I noticed the URL and it was and the comment line for this particular post. So you may not be a great tracker like your Moma, but you are great at having an opinion and explaining how blogs and comments work when you are bookmarking them.

    So, thank you for helping me with my poor bookmarking skills.

  4. Since you write this blog, you never get to read a post extolling your virtues, but here's a comment. I love that we've been sharing stories for so long that up until the loss of the cell phone charger, I was anticipating everything you said, including behind the rollers. I really wanted to make behind the rollers happen like fetch didn't happen, but I'm afraid it's fallen into fetch territory. Here's hoping for a revival.

  5. Jenni is a really good finder too. I often tell her that she missed her calling and should have been the world's greatest detective. She always knows where everything is (which is great since I lose either my shoes or my belt at least twice a week), and she almost always figures out the ending of movies by the time we're halfway through them. I often think of how she and Bic-Bic could open a finding business and make a little extra scratch.
    Sometimes when I'm extolling Jenno's detective skills I call her _______.

  6. Mac--Jenni has to be a great finder because you are a great loser!

  7. I believe we have a winner! Well played, Michelle.


what do you think?