According to the internet, people spend about 30 minutes a day searching for lost things. Add that up over time, and you’ll end up spending three and a half hours a week, one week a year, and a little over one year of your life muttering with confusion and rifling through drawers. Knowing that these actions will interfere with the nine years of my life I’m going spend on the internet, I was perplexed upon finding a check that had been lost for eight years among the peripheral clutter of envelopes and papers slowly taking over the Artful Dodge office. How many hours in someone’s life were spent searching for this check? Of course, the blame cannot be placed entirely upon the Dodge. The check was supposed to travel from Texas to Ohio, but it was mistakenly addressed to Nimrod Journal in Oklahoma, where it would wait patiently for six years. Someone probably opened the envelope, pulled out the check, and saw that it was addressed to a different literary magazine. “How interesting,” they said. “I think I will do something about this later.” Then, since people spend about four years of their life procrastinating, “later” turned out to be “much later.” Whatever circumstances led to the loss of the check, it was eventually found and sent to the Dodge with the note:
This check came up in our office at Nimrod—we thought maybe it had accompanied a contest entry, but we didn’t see any entries by any of your editors… Let me know if there was something else intended for this. Thanks! 😊
It seems that whatever happened at Nimrod also happened here. The check arrived in all its glory, and in return, it was flattened with rejections and withdrawals for two more years. Now, this piece of paper has lived long past its six-month expiration date; it will never be redeemed. It’s likely that it will be sent back to Texas and sacrificed to a shredder, whose glittering teeth will tear it into ribbons. If recycled, it could become another check, and another, and another, until it has been lost and found too many times to count, until hours spent searching become days and days become weeks. Always, the clock is ticking.
—Holly Engel, Assistant Editor