Recover brain – and lost items – with 4-step method

by Mark Pleiss

It’s not something I’m proud of, but I have a syndrome.

A bad one.

It’s nothing serious. It’s just that at times I have no brain.

It disappears like an apparition.

Not in the way some haters may think – I’m not stupid. Rather, in a way that makes me look at myself and say, “For the love of God, Mark; you’re like the freaking scarecrow.”

I’ll try to be less ambiguous.

Two weeks ago I lost half of everything I owned. The next week I lost the other half.

But you may have already been aware of this from my eloquent mass e-mail sent out last week.

In total, the sum of my losses added up to around $100.

Among the items on the list were my Spanish-English dictionary, my Spanish text book, ID card, contact case, one shoe and the new ID card I bought to replace the previous one.

Had I lost all these things at once, perhaps I wouldn’t be completely guilty of brain loss. Unfortunately, this assortment of goodies vanished through a time period of 14 days. The brain-fart excuse can’t work.

This is old-fashioned inanity.

Elizabeth Bishop wrote in her poem “One Art” that the art of losing isn’t hard to master. I couldn’t agree more. I find solace in this work every time something of mine disappears. It’s my way of coping.

But I write this story not to brag of my own foolishness, rather, to shed light on a subject all college students like me could easily teach their own class on: Losing Stuff 315 Honors.

College is a time of immense pressure and arduous study mixed with times of flagrant stupidity and fun. Such a blend of seriousness and dumbness breeds the loss of inanimate objects.

My proof is in the lost cell phones around the fraternity houses and that idiot who forgot his Spanish book in some room after a test.

Because of this fact, and because of my own personal experience, I’ve decided to give a few tips to those coping with the loss of somewhat-meaningless, yet just-expensive-enough-to-drive-you-nuts things:

Stay calm

Stress and head banging only promote the loss of blood and oxygen to the brain. When something is lost, the easiest time to find it is within the first five hours of its disappearance.

If you can’t think during those times, then you won’t find anything.

Search everything

Check your roommates’ stuff, your stuff, your neighbors’ stuff, even buildings where you don’t even have class.

I once found my lost gas card in a pair of pants I hadn’t worn in two years.

Pray to St. Anthony

When secular methods don’t work, go to the big guy upstairs.

I swear by it.

Praying to the patron saint of small miracles and lost items really does work. You can go to for the prayer.

It’s a short one, so even if you aren’t religious, you aren’t out much.

Keep things in perspective

If the powers of Earth and above don’t turn up your loss, just remember things can be replaced.

Though at times they’re expensive (say a $50 textbook), there are people out there with bigger problems.

And really, there aren’t many material objects in the world that will bring you devastating despair if they go missing.

This is my advice to all who are coping with loss. Remember, everyone has the same problems you do. Just keep looking and typically, things will show up.

And oh yeah, tell me if you find my ID.

I’m living off ramen until you do.