Typically writing comes naturally to me. Every week I sit down and let the thoughts flow. It’s therapeutic. It’s cathartic. It’s healing. Until it no longer comes easy.
Today I found myself at that point. No thoughts with clear direction, no drive to address a specific topic, just a lot of ideas rattling around inside my head. So I decided to have some fun. I’m going to give you a look under the hood with a letter I wrote to my wife:
My mind can be a scary place. Not because of the crazy ideas I have at random moments throughout the day, or the dreams in Technicolor… my mind is a scary place simply because of the haphazard way I process information. Maybe it’s better to say, “lose” information. Don’t worry, I almost always find it! It’s just a matter of when and where.
You often look at me with a concerned look, gently placing your loving hand on my shoulder and say, “Honey, what in the world is going on inside that head of yours?”
I’m about to tell you, so hang on; it’s going to be a trip!
Have you ever lost your keys?
Or your wallet?
Or your glasses?
Or your belt?
Only to find them somewhere you’re certain you didn’t leave them? Except for the belt, I can’t blame anyone else for putting it on without my noticing.
That’s my mind, 100% of the time—oh and it’s also my life! I lose crap all the time! But that’s not the point of the story, back to the chaos that is my cursed way of processing everything from the important to the mundane.
I have a series of file cabinets in my brain. I’m not sure how many, but for the sake of simplicity let’s say there are three (there are way more than three, but we don’t have all day). These file cabinets are responsible for holding information past, present, and future—kind of like the Christmas Carol ghosts, but not nearly as helpful.
The file cabinet of my past should hold things like birthdates, the contents of recently had conversations, the name of a someone I met last week at church, or where I set my keys last night. The file cabinet of my present is responsible for the information needed to complete the task directly in front of me like mowing the lawn, taking out the garbage, or unloading the dishwasher. And finally, the file cabinet of my future is where I should find my appointments for next week, dreams, or aspirations.
Here’s the problem! None of these file cabinets do their damn job! I used to think they were misnamed and if I reorganized them, my filing system would make more sense.
But I know who's responsible. I blame it all on Reggie—he’s a little troll that lives inside my head.
Reggie the Troll has one job – file information. It should be a simple task. Here’s the problem though. I’m pretty sure Reggie is a complete drunk and is as ADD as I am! Because if I showed up for an audit of Reggie’s work right now here is what I would find:
Picture a massive warehouse, mostly empty (yeah I know how that sounds—shut up!) with one exposed bulb hanging from the ceiling. The faint light from the flickering lamp casts long shifting shadows across the floor from three large file cabinets. The drawers of each cabinet are scattered across the floor with file folders and documents lying everywhere in complete disarray.
Atop the center file cabinet is the dark form of Reggie the Troll. His mangy hair is pulled up in a poor attempt at a topknot, and he has a chewed up cigar hanging out of the corner of his mouth. Grease stains cover his shirt, but that’s okay because he dressed up today, he’s wearing a tie—keeping it professional. An almost empty bottle of gin dangles from his left hand (who drinks gin straight anyway?), and his right hand is stuck halfway down the front of his pants (we have something in common), which clearly haven’t been washed in weeks.
Through sleep filled, bloodshot, squinting eyes that can only mean a wicked hangover or the worst case of pink eye ever, Reggie looks at me and grumbles, “What do you want?”
“I’m here for an audit. I want to see how well you’re keeping things in order.”
Reggie reaches down deep to adjust whatever trolls have in their pants and then pulls his right hand out from the depths, sweeping his arm extravagantly through the air while shouting, “Take a look around, everything is in tip-top shape.”
The momentum from his grand gesture is too much, and Reggie slips and falls off of the file cabinet. The force of his head striking the ground echoes with the hollow thud of a watermelon. Don’t worry; Reggie is fine—just another day at the office.
So here I am, staring at a passed out troll, three empty file cabinets, an empty bottle of gin, and a host of information that I would love to have readily available, strewn across kingdom come. This will take me weeks to sort out. Good help is so hard to find. That’s why I just turn and walk away.
So the next time I forget a birthday, can’t find my keys or don’t remember a conversation, give me a little grace. The next time I start mowing the lawn, only to get distracted and half empty the dishwasher and then take out the garage while the lawnmower sits in the half mowed yard, you’ll know why. Just remember, the next appointment I miss…
It’s all Reggie’s fault.
That reminds me, I told him I would get him another bottle of gin.