I'm A Loser

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/14502200/14505042" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

On the back of my front door, there is a post-it with a list of items like wallet, keys, cell phone, lunch (I know, it's hard to imagine walking out of the house without your keys, but I've done it — usually the click of the self-locking door reminds me). I'm prone to misplacing things. This is partly due to a lack of housekeeping skills (things get buried purty easily), but it's also do to good old-fashioned absent-mindedness. I often walk away from the bar carrying the drink I ordered — but not the wallet — and once lost my phone on the National Mall (I just left it sitting under the tree I had been leaning against.) I do, however, have a better than average rate of return on all these lost items. The cell phone was recovered and returned to the Smithsonian Castle (an adventure in and of itself), and of the myriad of wallets I've dropped and/or waltzed away from, I've would say I've gotten about 50% back. I've always maintained that my general amiability is due to how many times a day I experience the euphoria of finding a lost thing — there's nothing like that rush of relief. (But it probably also contributes to my general anixety, too.) How about you? What items have slipped from your fingers, only to reappear again?



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Whenever I find something that's not mine, I do my very best to find the rightful owner. In fact, when my 12 year old son finds stuff at school, I always tell him to take it to lost and found. Many times, we donate to charity if money was found. I want to show my son that he shouldn't keep what's not his. Ofcourse there are some cases where there is no way to find the owner.

Sent by RK | 3:17 PM | 9-18-2007

I lost my diamond out of my wedding ring at work. I worked in a lab at a very large pharmaceutical research facility, and took disposable gloves on and off all day. I thought I would never find it, but sent out a frantic e-mail anyway. Half an hour later a close friend found it on the floor of the bathroom, just below the trash can! I truly could not believe it, but how many diamonds do you find just laying around in bathrooms?

Sent by Heidi Dodson | 3:18 PM | 9-18-2007

I found a funny/bizarre to do list:
Clean my room
Find Richard III
Watch Muzzy
Study Colloquial Italian
Return Scrubs
Return Muzzy + Nuggets
Use the internet.

Sent by Luke Dolkas | 3:20 PM | 9-18-2007

LOSERS! . . . and FINDERS!
Many of my best finds have been in campgrounds & campsites, where people hang something in a tree. Then, when they break camp and leave, they forget to look UP, leaving behind frying pans, ropes, clothing, all sorts of interesting things. . .

Sent by M. Andrews | 3:21 PM | 9-18-2007

When I was nine, I lost my first and favorite pocketbook, while Easter shopping with my mother, at a department store some 40 miles from home. I thought it was gone forever and I cried to think that my carelessness had assured I wouldn't get another any time soon. A couple weeks later, the pocketbook arrived in the mail, with an explanation and a bonus. Someone at the store had recognized my last name as that of one of the store employees, who turned out to be a cousin. She conveyed my bag to her father, my uncle, who mailed it to me with a gentle remonstrance and a ten dollar bill tucked into the wallet beside the paper driver's license and credit cards. I had lost pride, but found a caring relative.

Sent by mary rotella | 3:22 PM | 9-18-2007

Great show, as usual. I just happened to be listening and just discovered that I've misplaced a 2 GB jump drive. It's a Memorex USB drive about as big as your thumb. You haven't seen it by ay chance, have you.

Brian Whisenant
Platteville, WI

Sent by Brian Whisenant | 3:24 PM | 9-18-2007

While participating in a highway cleanup activity with my son's Boy Scout troop, I found the contents of a man's wallet. I tracked him down through internet research and sent him an e-mail. I'll never forget his response, he said "you have restored my faith in humanity". His wallet had been stolen and evidently tossed out the thief's car window. He had already replaced the major cards and ID's, but not the minor ones. I delivered the items to his home.

Sent by Margaret Moore | 3:24 PM | 9-18-2007

I owned a small car rental company. Once we found under the seat of a returned call a loaded gun and a "billy" type stick. One of thos stickes with a chain and ball attached! Belonged to a wellknown singer & musician. Another time we opened the trunk of a convertible and found a bales of hay

Sent by peggy stewart | 3:26 PM | 9-18-2007

A found item via a friend - she found a beautiful turquoise and silver bracelet while riding her horse in a field outside Travis AFB, and gave it to me because she didn't care for it.

A lost item - I lost the claddagh ring I bought in Galway in 1972 while gardening in 1995. My "little voice" said "you'll be married soon - you don't need that one anymore" Sure enough - 2 years later my husband placed on my left hand the Claddagh I wear today.

Sent by Kathleen O'Brien Blair | 3:27 PM | 9-18-2007

As a young freshman, I found a young, fluffy puppy on campus with no apparent owner around. I easily coaxed the puppy back to my dorm room whereupon I wondered just exactly I was going to do with this darling little dog. Well, 3 days later I found a "Lost Puppy" note on a bulletin board and that was when I realized how much I had fallen in love with this little guy. I cried. My roommate told me to call the number. I did. The ecstatic joy on both the owner and the puppy reassured me that indeed I had done the right thing. That was over 40 years ago and I think that during the history of 3 long-lived dogs that never strayed from home or ran away was the karmic reward for doing the right thing so many years ago.

Sent by Kristin In Chico CA | 3:27 PM | 9-18-2007

My elderly mother needed reminders frequently during the day so I set my PDA to alert me to call her at regular intervals for meds, doctor appts, to eat, etc. I was living in Philadephia at the time, but on a ski trip to NH, I lost my PDA in a snowy parking lot. I thought it would be gone forever; however, someone called within a day to say they found it - the reminder started alerting them in the parking lot - they opened it and saw it read "call Mom" and took the PDA to the motel office to report it found!! I was so relieved. Just goes to show - my Mom was looking out for me, while I looked out for her.

Sent by Pat McManus | 3:28 PM | 9-18-2007

I ran into a bum in downtown S.F wearing one shoe. I walked up to him and said "hey mr you lost a shoe" he look up at me and sain "no i didnt i found one"

Sent by scott wilson | 3:29 PM | 9-18-2007

My car ate my cell phone. Two years ago, I must have dropped my cell phone in my car, because my mom, two kids and I were driving down the road, and my cell phone that had been missing for two days started ringing in the car. I figured I could find it when I stopped, but when I dialled it again it wouldn't ring. The next day we were driving down the road, and I heard it "power off", due to a lack of charge. I tore the car apart as much as I could without a torch, but I never found that cell phone.

Sent by Nanette Murray | 3:30 PM | 9-18-2007

I left my favorite camera on the Ellis island boat as we were rushed out of the boat that it was our stop and we had to get off. I called several times for several days and never found it! The sad thing was it had undeveloped pics I had taken with my in-laws who were visiting from out of country.

Sent by RK | 3:30 PM | 9-18-2007

I have found a lot of things over the years scuba diving in rivers. I once found an entire tackle box in the river, and put it in my garage for six months (it was pretty muddy). I finally opened it and found, along with the fishing gear, the fisherman's wallet with $60 in it. I finally decifered who it was, found his phone number, and gave him a call. I asked him if he had lost his wallet? He said no, then I said "in your tackle box." "You found my tacklebox!!!" I told him the story of recovering it from the water, and he told me the his story. He had been fishing with a friend in a small rubber raft on the North Umpqua River in spring. Not realizing how high the water was, they went through a rapids, capsized, and almost lost their lives (they were not wearing life jackets). And, he lost the tacklebox with the $60. His wife was non-too happy with his adventure. He came by and got the tacklebox and $60 (deteriorated--would need to be checked back in to a bank).

On a recent dive, I found a gold neckless. I decided to try to value it, and it did not have a stamp on it, indicating that it may have been from a person from Mexico who came into the area (Oregon). I did not want to wear it, nor did my wife, so on a subsequent dive on July 4th, I was trying to find the owner, but unsuccessful. I got invited by a Mexican-American family to their barbaque on the river's bank, and ended up having a fine home-made taco lunch. I gave the neckless to the young man who talked with me from the family. That way, maybe it would find someone who would appreciate it.

Sent by John Ratliff | 3:41 PM | 9-18-2007

I lost my cell phone and my husband loaned me his. I then lost it on a Northwest Air flight. I e-mailed and called and within a week of doing so, my husband's cell phone (with all his directory, which he was sad to lose) was actually recovered. This was on Halloweeen.

The excitement was in the reclaiming of this lost item! Northwest did not have a direct flight to Cincinnati, but said they would put the phone on a Delta flight. An hour later, they called to say that Delta would "not allow an unaccompanied cell phone on its flights." Hmmmmm. My phone had been unaccompanied somewhere for a week without causing any mayhem, but oh well. Not to worry. Northwest could put the lost phone on a flight to Detroit (never mind that it had no chaperone) and from Detroit, it would come to Cincinnati, only a little later than had it been flown by Delta. After trick or treaters were gone. All the better!

My husband decided to circle around the airport while I ran in to claim it. I went to the first uniformed person I saw--at the baggage carrels. He said to go up to baggage claim. I went UP.

At the baggage claim office shared by Northwest and another airline (name conveniently forgotten), I was told that he could only give out items lost on HIS airline and, for lost Northwest items, I would have to go DOWN the escalator to the ticket counter. I did so. No phone. The ticket agent called the flight attendants who were clearing the Detroit flight of detritus. They said there was no cell phone onboard. Alas!

The ticket agent suggested I go UP to baggage claim. I had been fairly optimistic and cheerful to this point, but I balked at another foray into the uncooperative baggage claim office. The agent saw my pout and said she would go with me. She just marched right in and went back into the lost and found area, emerging with a box large enough to hold a full-lenth formal. My name was on it. She said she wouldn't leave me until she saw what was in this generously sized box. By now, my husband had parked and was walking toward us. I opened the box, which appeared completely empty. Yet, in its farthest corner could be seen an unaccompanied cell phone lonely and without packing of any sort. The agent pulled it out, saw the word Grandpa and said to me (Grandma), "Is this YOURS?"

The phone was home.

Sent by Carol Ann Morrow | 4:13 PM | 9-18-2007

One day in high school, I was sitting on the lawn eating lunch and my favorite bracelet came off. I didn't notice it for a couple of days and gave it up for lost, as I couldn't remember where I might have lost it. I was devestated. 6 months later, after a torential winter and a lovely spring, I was again having lunch on the lawn. I leaned back and something poked into my hand...it was my bracelet sitting there as though I had just left it there the day before...

Sent by Megan Rawlins | 6:19 PM | 9-18-2007

When we moved into this house twenty years ago, we found a bowling ball in one of the cupboards. It was a nice bowling ball, with custom-drilled holes and an engraved name that was not the name of anyone who had lived here. We decided it's the house's bowling ball -- whenever we sell the house, the bowling ball will go to the new owners.

Sent by Michelle LaPointe | 1:29 AM | 9-19-2007

I was in the British Virgin Islands with a some friends. Went swimming. A friend lost his driver's license. We were concerned about how we were going to get back in the country (back in the days that a driver's license was enough).

About a month later my friend got a letter from Maine. Inside was the driver's license. The good samaritan was snorkeling and found it in the water and returned it.

Sent by rich morpurgo | 10:12 AM | 9-19-2007

Lost Beans become family legend- Growing up in the then rural DC suburbs we had a large garden which was canned and frozen. Green beans were always canned a la Carolina style in quart jars. The following winter my Mom discovered that NO canned beans were in the cellar, nor anywhere else in the house! They never have been. Hope the Borrowers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Borrowers) enjoyed a feast!

Sent by ellen bentley | 12:21 PM | 9-19-2007

It was nice to hear Dan Brucker again on your Tales from the Lost and Found yesterday. I "met" him just the night before on the History Channel's Cities of the Underworld: New York. It was one of the most amazing shows I've ever seen. He took us ten stories below Grand Central Terminal to see their century old power system and to a train station hidden beneath the Waldorf-Astoria, where FDR snuck into town. We also got to see what he looked like.

Sent by Bill Young | 2:13 PM | 9-19-2007

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from