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A Place for Everything
And everything in its place. That’s the idea, anyway. It’s a handy little rule if you can manage the discipline and presence of mind to follow it. Sure, it can be a nuisance to return the thing to its proper place, especially when you’re right in the middle of a project and making good headway. But we know that the rule will save time in the long run — time that we might have to spend looking for the thing the next time we need it.

In a perfect world, that’s how it works. But there are no such worlds. Mistakes will be made. So, sometimes, despite our solemn vow to never do it again, we neglect to put the thing in its place when we’re done with it.

There are no good excuses for such a failure, only lame ones. For instance, I have used “I’ll just put it down for a second. I’ll remember where it is, and then I’ll put it back.” While this excuse may amount to a statement of fact, it’s no better than “I spaced out on it, man,” or plain old “I forgot.” Even if accompanied by an apology, such explanations are not worth the hot air they are spoken with. Moreover, the only person who really deserves an apology here is excuse-maker himself. I, for one, am not interested in an apology from myself.

I try to avoid such gambits as “You distracted me,” or “It’s your fault.” That brand of blame shifting is an unseemly tack under any circumstances, but when it’s your motto that’s been violated, it’s your responsibility. All yours. Any failure (even if others collaborated in your dereliction) is your failure. That is because this rule is more than a mere catchphrase — or even an aphorism. A place for everything, and everything in its place is a full-on maxim. The thing is either in its place, or it isn’t. Do or do not, as Yoda says, there is no try.

If it were simply a saying, perhaps the consequences of failure would be less onerous. It is the sad truth, however, that besides not being able to find the thing that you (perhaps desperately) need, you also have to endure the self-recriminations for not adequately securing the thing.

So it is with my daypack. I am tempted to say that I have never misplaced it before, but now I cannot say that because it is no longer true. Nor am I permitted to say that I have looked everywhere. Clearly, I have not.

My almost perfect record is useless to me now. If it were still perfect, I’d have my daypack and be busy putting it to good use. Instead. I must begin the laborious investigation into its whereabouts. As the hunt unfolds, I am confronted at every turn by the fact that I have no one to blame but myself. Every pathetic mental re-enactment, every wild hypothetical scenario, every fruitless follow-up is a confirmation of my failure. That is the price, moreover, of having any maxims at all. So be it.

“It’s got to be around here someplace,” I try telling myself. “It’ll turn up.” These, I know, are an attempt to establish a false narrative: that everything is okay, or will be soon enough. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Somehow, I have violated my maxim. The world will not be right again until the thing is once again in its place.

I must find it or I am lost. Until then, there is no try, only do or do not.
Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon