The other day, I made myself a hot dog for lunch. Now, when I make a hot dog, it’s not your regular, everyday hot dog. I’m talking a hot dog that should be called Dogzilla. Unfortunately, the foundation of the hot dog is ketchup. I open up the refrigerator and look in the right-hand door, which is where I usually keep the ketchup. Not there. I try peeking around the milk carton to see if it’s hiding in the back behind the big stuff where I can’t see it. No luck. I start moving things around, seeking that elusive ketchup bottle. Nothing doing. “Louise,” I cried, “are we out of ketchup?” “No, darling. It’s in the refrigerator.”
“No it’s not. I’ve been looking in the refrigerator and it’s not there!” The Lovely Louise drops what she’s doing and comes to the kitchen. I get that look—you know the look; I don’t even have to describe it. She opens the refrigerator door, reaches over to the right side where the ketchup is supposed to be, grabs the ketchup and hands it to me. I swear it wasn’t there when I looked. It’s sort of like George Berkeley’s argument for the existence of God. If objects exist only when they’re being perceived, then they must not exist when they’re not being perceived. Since it makes no sense to have things leaping into and out of existence, someone or something must be perceiving all things at all times. Voila, God exists! Berkeley must have known about my ketchup. Before I met the Lovely Louise, I lived alone. I had two cleaning ladies who would come in every two weeks and clean my house. This is why I wasn’t embarrassed the first time I invited her over; I knew the house was clean. Or so I thought. After a few months of dating, she mentioned the condition of my house. I had no idea what she was talking about, I had cleaning people. “Oh, dear, dear,” she said. “They know it’s only you that lives here, so they only do a man clean.” A man clean? I didn’t know there was such a thing. Apparently, a man won’t notice the house isn’t clean if the coffee table is clean and there’s an unobstructed path to the kitchen and the bedroom. When I was a kid, my mother would do the laundry and leave it folded on the stairs for me to bring up to my room. I know there were times when I simply climbed over the pile and left everything on the stairs. I swear, I didn’t see anything. It’s gotten to the point where, when I can’t find something and I call out for the Lovely Louise to tell me where it is, she doesn’t bother to answer. She just comes and finds it for me. Sometimes I test her and ask for something I know isn’t there just to see her frustration. But don’t tell her; I don’t need any more punishment. I’m unable to count the number of times I’ve looked for something that was right in front of me and failed to see it. It happens in my briefcase all the time. I put things in the briefcase to bring to work, and when I get to work, they’re not there. When I get home and complain, the Lovely Louise opens my briefcase, slides her hand in and triumphantly produces the missing object. I’m starting to think it should be Penn and Teller and Louise. She could show those boys a thing or two about prestidigitation. Anyway, I’m blaming my glasses and I’m going to get my eyes checked again. I’m going to be very explicit: I’m going to tell the doctor that I need the glasses that help you see things that are right in front of you. We have GPS to help us find things. We should be able to have glasses that can do it, too.