God created the earth and everything on it in six days. On the seventh day he stopped to rest. Not because he was tired, but because he lost his cellphone. It was a problem. When you’re God, it’s more than a little embarrassing to have to yell down, “Hey Adam. Do me a favor and call my cell phone. I lost it!” Especially when you know the only answer you’re going to get is, “What’s a cellphone?” And so began mankind’s universal journey of frustration that continues to this day. Or at least until Monday… when Colleen lost her phone in the marsh.
The day began as most days here do…. as we walked the birds to a new “foraging destination” Joe had mowed a few days before. I was watching the birds as they madly probed the wetland for each and every “beakable” item waiting just beneath the surface when I noticed Joe and Colleen suddenly doing the same thing… only with their arms.
Then, as their speed increased from 45 to 78 rpm, they began to resemble a couple of costumed cardiac patients digging in a swamp for their pacemakers as if their lives depended on it. A new training protocol, I wondered? Or was this the beginning of some kind of twisted reality show. You have to remember, people in costumes can look pretty funny doing just about anything, no matter how many years you’ve been watching them.
Finally, I just couldn’t stand it anymore and walked over to Joe. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Colleen lost her cellphone,” he replied. “She fell in the water and it popped out of her costume pocket.” This came as a surprise because I hadn’t seen her fall. But then I rarely do because she has become so skilled at the art of “face plant recovery” that most times it all happens so fast you don’t even see it. Like staring at a hummingbird in flight and trying to see its wings. In fact, the only way I know it’s just happened is because the chicks suddenly all line up like Olympic judges, holding up large scoring cards with big numbers on them. I joined in the search, but as usual was not much help.
“Can’t we call Jacques Cousteau to come take a look?” Colleen asked. “Nope” I replied. “He and his narrator, Rod Serling, are already busy working on another project; “Eternal Decompression.”
We walked the birds back to the pen while Colleen quietly sang the “Wizard of Oz” song, “If I Only Had a…. Phone.” Then it was back to the parking lot to regroup. At a time like this, who you going to call? Not “Ghost Busters” because the marsh isn’t haunted. No. You call “Detector Man”! That’s who. Now, it just so happened I had recently purchased a brand new metal detector. “Plan for your retirement now!” the TV financial guru demanded. “Social Security is not going to be there when you need it. Neither is healthcare.” So… I bought a metal detector. It’s better than a Swiss Bank Account. No account number to forget. And besides, what better way to spend your “Golden Years” than sweeping deserted beaches, metal detector in one hand, beverage in the other, for its hidden treasure of pop tops and thin dimes… the very cornerstones of any financial retirement plan. Those things add up… and pennies really do make dollars. And no Tax Man.
We sped back to camp, retrieved the metal detector from the locked bank vault and returned to the “Accident Scene.” As we walked past the pen, I heard #1 say to #4. “Looks like he’s practicing for retirement.” With shaking hands, I adjusted the detector settings to “She Dropped Her Cellphone” as the metal detector barked to life and the search began. It wasn’t too many sweeps later that the detector began to scream, prompting me to dig way down until my fingers hit the jackpot. “Got it!” I whispered as I yanked it up and excitedly cleaned it off for inspection. But as with so much of the rest of life, the thrill of victory quickly morphed into the agony of defeat as we confronted the new reality that Colleen had become the proud new owner of a… PAPER WEIGHT.
“Can you call it to see if it still works?” Colleen asked.
“Better not.” I replied. “We don’t want to disturb the little fish swimming on the other side of the screen, unless of course you’ve got it on “Aquarium App.”
It was then we heard the voice from above call down, “The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away. That is why I created INSURANCE.”
Less than 24 hours later, our good friend Jerry from the Refuge stopped us on the road and passed a just delivered box through the van window. “Your new phone,” he said smiling. Colleen proceeded to tear open the box with all the calm delicacy of a hungry lion devouring a gazelle… and there it was. The new phone. She stared at it as if it was a winning lottery ticket. Then her joyful expression quickly faded to confusion and suspicion. “This phone is from a different manufacturer,” she said.
“What manufacturer?” I asked.
“Chicken of the Sea!”
Nice to know the “Man Upstairs” hasn’t lost his sense of humor.