I live in a family of losers, and admit somewhat reluctantly that I am one of the chief contributors to our misplacements. I am responsible for some sort of loss nearly every day; and it's not in any way related to weight, unfortunately. My purse, sunglasses and car keys are all fair game. I am not alone. My oldest son occasionally loses money at the casino. My husband also loses cash but in a different way; it jumps from his wallet to the kids' pockets. We lose hockey games and the TV remote. Our batteries lose their charge. We lose socks in the dryer all the time.
Our home is like a black hole for any number of losable items and we're caught in the vortex. I thought we'd dislocated just about everything possible - until last Tuesday, when we entered new territory.
We found ourselves unable to locate a tennis racket. Not tennis balls. Not tennis tape. Not one of those absorbent tennis wristbands. A brand-new, never-used, regular-size, far-from-cheap tennis racket - in its entirety.
It might seem impossible to lose something as conspicuous and cumbersome as a tennis racket, but I'll remind you, we are a bunch of losers and therefore somewhat talented that way. Even so, we've never lost anything as large as a tennis racket - unless you count losing a car in the parking lot or the occasional errant bicycle. We've done both. More than once, which doubles our deficit - or aptitude - depending on your viewpoint.
The owner of the racket, son number two, is a fairly accomplished loser, despite his young age. Up until last week, however, his lost talents were primarily limited to cell phones - the displacement of which he has proven himself to be a true aficionado. Let's just say he loses them at the rate normal kids lose teeth.
But lost cell phones are so blas. Practically anyone can lose a cell phone with hardly any effort. The small, slender gizmos slip easily between chair cushions, fall under the seats of a minivan or lay hidden in the folds of pants pockets or backpacks. Tennis rackets don't fit in backpacks. Losing one was an achievement - even for us.
The inability to locate a tennis racket might not hold the importance of a match point, but the day we noticed it had gone missing was not a normal day. It was the day of the first high school tennis meet of the year. The timing couldn't have been less perfect. Ad out.
I asked my son if he remembered where he'd last seen the racket. Had he shown it to someone? Brought it to school? Put it somewhere for safekeeping? My attempts at triggering his memory served no purpose; he had no recollection of any such activities.
Where does one search for a lost tennis racket? Everywhere. I overturned chair cushions. Peered behind TVs. Looked under beds. Shuffled through closets. Perused the laundry. I found many dust bunnies and 11 dirty socks but no tennis racket. Tennis meet looming, we were close to break point. It was far from a love-love situation. As I found myself on my knees, rummaging through the garbage in search of the expensive racket I feared I might be losing my marbles, or at the very least my dignity.
The advantage was definitely with the lost racket. I didn't know what we were going to do.
Just then my son let out a loud yelp, which I hoped was a good sign. I found him standing in the doorway of his bedroom, beaming, racket in hand. It doesn't matter where he found it (wedged between the wall and radiator) but that he found it. Because the one thing better than a brand-new tennis racket on the first official day of the first official tennis meet of the season is a once-lost, now-found brand-new tennis racket on that very same day. It felt like a grand slam.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" You can read more and follow her column on the Slices of Life page on Facebook.