Few things bring out the blush in your cheeks like forgetting your cellphone at someone else’s place.
It gives your friends hard evidence of something they’ve long suspected — your synapses are firing a couple of spark plugs short.
“Poor ol’ George,” they’d say — providing that your name is George. “Remember when he was brilliant?”
Now when his friends see him standing in the kitchen with a blank look on his face, there’s no denying what happened. “George, did you forget why you walked into the room again? Just like you didn’t remember your cellphone. Poor ol’ George. He’d forget his own head if it wasn’t attached.”
I have forgotten many things over the last six decades.
There are the standard things like birthdays, anniversaries and where I parked the car.
I’ve forgotten to go to work. Worse, I went to work on a day I forgot that I had off.
I’ve found phone numbers in my wallet but have forgotten to whom they belong. I thought about calling to find out, but I might owe whomever answers money I forgot to pay.
Now where was I going with this? Oh yeah, I remember — the mortification of leaving your cellphone behind at a friend’s house.
It’s bothersome when you’re trying to project a tough guy image but have to stammer through an explanation of why you have 53 photos of kittens in your files. And when you get your phone back, you find that your home screen has been changed to a big photo of your niece wearing cat ears and sticking her tongue out at you.
That brings us back to poor ol’ George. Tired of forgetting things, he decided to organize his life by loading his cellphone with reminders. It’s a to-do list that he can’t forget when he stuffs it into his pocket because it triggers a never-ending series of Caribbean steel pan drums that he set as alarms that dance for an hour or more until he checks the task off.
Too bad the phone can’t remind George to take it with him. Instead, it’s now at his friend’s house.
At 9:07 p.m. (George doesn’t like top-of-the-hour times), the Caribbean drums kick in. The friend follows the beat to George’s lost phone and looks at the screen: “Shower time.”
“Well, what do you know, George does clean up,” the friend chuckles. He turns off the alarm.
At 9:33 p.m., he guffaws when the drums signal, “Put on pajamas.” He loses it at 9:37 p.m. — “Brush teeth.”
By 9:43 (“Let cat out”), the cheerful drums grow annoying. At 9:56 p.m. (“Turn down heat”), the friend has heard enough steel pan drums for one night. But it’s not over yet.
10:03 p.m. — “Tell cat come in now or she’ll be out all night.”
11:02 p.m. — “Bedtime.”
12:17 a.m. — “Check for cat.”
3:34 a.m. — “Bathroom break.”
4:17 a.m. — “Were you having a nightmare?”
On and on the drums played, into the next morning — prayers, oatmeal, hair combing, paper reading, shoe tying ...
By 8:30 a.m., the friend pounded on George’s front door.
“Take this happy music back before I stuff my head in a tuba. Now!”
George smiled. Yes, it’s embarrassing to forget things. But he’s never failed to get his phone back since organizing his life to the beat of steel pan drums. Brilliant, George.
SEND REMINDERS to Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org, on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.