It’s silly some of the things we place value on. When I say value, of course, I’m not talking strictly about monetary value: we invest all sorts of value in personal possessions, whether it’s because of the cash investment, some emotional or nostalgic significance, or just because we think it’s cool.
The most prized possessions have all of these traits. Naturally, those are the items we’re almost guaranteed to lose.
Some time ago, my wife bought me a really groovy Zojirushi Bento box. For those who aren’t in the know, a Bento box is an extra-fancy lunchbox, compartmentalized so you can plan out your meal using the different containers, which all fit conveniently together like a Transformer. (Only without the robots, the weapons, and, blissfully, without the involvement of either Shia LeBouf or Michael Bay.) Most Bento boxes are (duh) actually boxes, but this one is like a giant thermos that looks like it got stepped on by a rhino. The compartments squeeze in one over the other, and all four individual “boxes” (they’re more like round Tupperware pieces) squeeze into the massive thermos. The entire shebang fits inside a groovy little back-pack like sling, and then “Voila!” (which is French for…“Voila!”), you have a groovy little Metrosexual Manpurse of a lunch container.
Hey, I love it. It keeps cold shit cold and hot shit hot, and, before it broke, the carrying bag had a sling so you could wear the entire thing over your shoulder, Indiana Jones-style. And the damn thing is HEAVY. Even if you’re just eating soup, crackers, some diced up carrots and a couple of cookies, the Bento box has to weight a solid 5 pounds. With the convenient carrying case you could easily clock someone upside the head. So, really, this is a combination Lunchbox/Personal Safety Device.
Once the strap broke, I had to lug the damn thing around by the shorter handle, which isn’t quite as cool looking (and it’s a hell of a lot harder to tote around on a bike), but it does make it easier to clock someone with it if the need arises.
Anyways, the Bento box came with a metal spork. That’s right, a spork.
Part fork, part spoon, all metal. And all awesome. Now, I don’t know why this spork thing had me so excited. Maybe because it felt very grade-schoolish, a sort of childhood innocence to go along with my silly lunchbox. Maybe because it was sort of unique (I mean, seriously, how often do you see a metal spork?). Maybe because it was just plain old goofy shit.
In any case, a few weeks ago, I lost the spork.
I was pissed. Not rip-roaring tear the house down pissed. (For that, you have to witness me come home from a particularly crappy day at work, or else watch me lose 3 days worth of editing work on a novel I’d planned to release later that week. Heaven help you if you get too close when that happens.) But I was certainly distressed. And the funny thing is, the spork isn’t that important. It was really something I never actually thought about except when I washing it (“God damn this thing is a pain in the ass to clean”) or actually eating with it (“This spork means I’m awesome”).
And yet when it was gone…I missed it. It was something that made me smile during my lunch hour at work, which is more often than not a rushed and often all-too-brief spot of quiet in my day. It (and the Bento box in general) are something that can always launch a brief, often stupid work conversation in the kitchen to get past the nervous “Hi”, “Yeah, Hi” that is usually the extent of my dialog with co-workers. And, most important of all, it was something my wife got for me. Anytime you lose a gift from someone you love well….you feel sort of like a big lump of crap.
Luckily, I finally re-discovered the mighty spork a couple of days ago, hidden deep in the silverware drawer here at home. (I blame the dog. Mostly because she doesn’t have access to the Internet and can’t defend herself. Plus it seems a natural conclusion to come to, doesn’t it?)
Once again, all is well. I didn’t lose sleep while the spork was gone, or anything…but I’m amazed at just how happy I was when I found the silly thing. It was like a few extra rays of sunshine had been released back into the sky. Birds sand a little louder. And for the briefest of moments, my kids ceaseless and senseless arguments didn’t drive me to the bring of full-blown alcoholism. All thanks to the return of the spork.
Of course, this past weekend I found something that might challenge the spork’s place in my heart: my new magic rock. (Found on our killer hike, documented by Liberty over on her blog.)
Sometimes the things we place great value in are, quite frankly, just silly as hell. What silly item would you flip out over if it decided to pull a vanishing act on you?