“Nothing Is Lost, It Is Simply Not Revealed”

I sat down on Friday to enjoy a persimmon and a guava, and brought my trusty little lockback pocket knife with which to slice them. The persimmon and the guava were part of a bag of backyard goodness my friend and neighbor David brought over. The knife, pictured below previously belonged to our tenant Joe, and was discovered in a fishing tackle box of his that I found in the basement a year or two after he died in 2008. I’ve kept it nearby ever since. It’s a great little knife.

I didn’t realize it’s above-average attributes until I brought it with me one recent Saturday to the Rio Hondo College and as I was sitting at a table with others in my class and using it to slice up an apple, a fellow student picked it up and commented on it. He read the “Japan” stamped near the base of the less-than-two-inch-long blade, and was impressed, remarking that this must be a vintage knife as it’s rare nowadays that such a small blade would be made with Japanese steel. Stamped above the “Japan” is “440 C Stainless,” which I later came to learn is the highest quality 440 stainless steel.

It made me appreciate the knife even more.

Back to the persimmon and the guava on Friday. Turns out I didn’t even need the knife because the persimmon was so ripe you could eat it like an apple or tomato — the guava the same way. I followed those up with a store-bought grapefruit and again the little knife wasn’t used because it was too small to quarter up the fruit’s large diameter.

Afterwards, I took the paper plate upon which the inedible fruit bits sat and I scraped them off into the nonrecyclable trash bin before putting the plate in the recyclable bin. Unknown to me then was that I’d placed the knife on the plate and piled the rinds and stuff atop it and scraped it into the trash, too.

It was about 24 hours later, when I decided to have another persimmon and guava and grapefruit that I realized the knife was missing. It was not in its usual place by my desk. It was not on the table by my chair in the livingroom, and I went into the usual dark funk whenever something of mine is not where it’s supposed to be. Of course, I also was quick to say what my mom has always called The Magic Prayer: “Nothing is lost. It is simply not revealed,” but my heart wasn’t in it. Logically, I checked under and around my desk and my livingroom chair, Illogically I checked places the knife would never be: upstairs, outside in the backyard. Finally it dawned on me it might be in the trash, so Saturday afternoon, I did some searching of the containers in the kitchen and the cans on the side of the house. Still, no knife.

So I groused and I fumed and I frowned and I nashed and I looked again in all the logical places I’d looked before, and again in the illogical places, too. Then this morning I wrote the following on my Facebook page:

With apologies to WH Auden, stop all the clocks and shut off the phone… this is me obsessing: My absolute favorite pocket knife has maddeningly gone missing and its disappearance happened at some point after using it to slice some fruit either yesterday or the day before (I’m not sure which). Compounding my frustration is that the fruit was either ripe enough not to need slicing (persimmon and guava) or too big for the pocket knife’s short blade to be effective (grapefruit). Having searched in all the places it might be (as well as many places it absolutely wouldn’t), I then did a cursory and unsuccessful search of the discarded garbage, my fear being I accidentally pitched it with some other trash. But I’m afraid I’m going to have to don some makeshift biohazard gear and dive in deep to the budding repulsive compost-in-training for a more complete examination that leaves nary a broken eggshell, turkey bone, coffee ground, nor grapefruit rind unturned. Few things frustrate and fixate me more than a cherished thing that’s just up and vanished, so like I said, silence all the pianos and stop the dog from barking… this is me obsessing.

After getting back from a wonderful 3.5-mile hike in Griffith Park with Susan and Ranger, I finally rolled up my sleeves and plugged up my nose and this afternoon dove determinedly into the outdoor cans. Damn the stench and the stickiness and the sog and the yuck and the muck I was going to go piece by piece until I found it, or threw up trying.

And I did. No, I didn’t upchuck. I found it. When I lifted the three-day-old remains of our Thanksgiving turkey, there it was sitting in a damp and dank bed of coffee grounds.

And I wrote this on Facebook and posted the above photo:

Start the clocks back up and turn on the phones… This is me no longer obsessing over my gone-missing absolute favorite American Valor 440 Stainless Japan steel pocket knife, pictured here after it was recovered from the trash into which I so unknowingly and ignominiously discarded it. And no I did not literally cry for joy when I found it under the turkey carcass and covered in coffee grounds. I just smiled in relief.

Nothing is lost. It is simply not revealed.