69: Helping Harry

69: Helping Harry

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

Helping Harry

A habit is something you can do without thinking — which is why most of us have so many of them.

~Frank A. Clark

I’ve spent the last twenty-two years searching for my husband’s keys. Seriously. Every day of my life, I get up, start the coffee and look for Harry’s keys. The problem is, I don’t know why Harry loses them so often. This is a man who can remember exactly how much money we spent on our very first vacation together. I’m not kidding. Frankly, if it weren’t for the fact that we have a photo album filled with pictures of the trip, I’d never remember going.

But he cannot remember where he left his keys.

I don’t think I need to tell you that it’s making me crazy. Look, how many places can you leave your keys? It’s not like we live in Buckingham Palace. Although, if we did live in Buckingham Palace chances are a butler would be in charge of Harry’s keys and life would definitely be easier.

That aside, I have tried to help Harry. Look, I don’t want to get up every morning and fling pillows around the family room in a desperate search for his car keys. Or his house keys. Don’t get me started on that. I mean, the man cannot remember where he puts his keys — so he has two key rings — one for his house and office keys and one for his car keys. Please. Don’t I suffer enough without having to look for two sets of keys every morning?

Anyway, in an effort to preserve the remnants of my sanity, I have tried various organizational methods to help Harry. I cannot tell you how hard this is for me. I’m not the most organized person on earth. But I did it because, honestly, I was afraid that one morning I’d be looking for the keys and lose my mind instead.

For my first effort, I hung a little basket on the front door. Now the intent was that he would step into the house and immediately dump his keys into the basket. Then the next morning, he would retrieve his keys from the basket and go on his merry way.

Too bad we live in the real world. Because in the real world, Harry would come in the door and the basket would swing around and scratch the door. Then Harry would dump his keys in the basket, take it off the handle and put it somewhere else in the living room so it would stop scratching the front door. And then the next day, we’d run around the living room looking for the basket. All the while, Harry would be saying useful things like, “I put the keys in the basket; what more do you want from me?”

So I tried hanging the basket from a hook. This worked for about a week, then the basket collapsed. Turns out Harry had liked the idea of always having his stuff in one place, so he loaded the basket with his car keys, about a thousand receipts, two wallets, a business card case, his cell phone and about $400 in pennies and nickels. Personally, I think the basket was overworked and trying to escape so it broke off its own handles, but I could be wrong.

Next I tried a tray that sat on a small table in the entryway. Yes, that was soon overflowing with junk as well. The table legs started bowing, so I cleared off a section of kitchen counter. You can imagine what the countertop looked like after a few days. It was covered. Good thing I don’t actually cook.

Finally, I found a device with a remote control that attached to Harry’s keys. When he lost them, which he did every single night, I pressed a button on the main controller and his keys beeped. It was like a miracle. Every morning, his keys were found. And then one day, it didn’t beep. We panicked. Why wasn’t the remote working? Had it, like the basket, become overwhelmed by the amount of junk it was attached to? Not really. Turns out that if the remote falls off your keychain and is run over by your very own car, it has a tendency to never beep again.

But that’s okay because I have a new plan. I’m just going to make 365 duplicate sets of keys and not worry about looking for them for a year. Hey, it could work.


~Laurie Sontag

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