Dear Saint Anthony
Please look around
I lost my knapsack
And it can't be found
Please help me find it
Grand Central Terminal, Monday, April 23, 2007, 4:15 PM
There it sat, an abandoned navy blue knapsack, planted smack dab in the middle of the Hudson News emporium.
The store is huge. In addition to newspapers, it sells almost every magazine in print, paperback books, warm soda and snacks.
A candy-laden cashier’s booth sits at the hub of the store. Here, no less than four Pakistani cashiers impatiently scream out… “Next!”.
Red dots form into headlines, then scrawl across the “Fox News Channel” ticker tape that circumnavigates the store’s wood paneled ceiling.
Television sets hang in the room's four corners, blaring Bill O’Reilly's “fair and balanced” opinions in surround sound. He's interrupted by a Special Report...another insurgent bombing in Iraq.
I eye the cashiers suspiciously.
A bomb-sniffing German Shepard is now upon the knapsack. He stands on his hind legs, poking his long nose inside the zipper of the bag.
SNIFF! SNIFF! SNIFF! SNIFF!
“That’s it boy,” says a Metro North Police officer, now pulling up on the leash with one hand, while dragging the bag across the floor with the other.
SNIFF! SNIFF! SNIFF! SNIFF! SNIFF!
The harried commuters seem oblivious to the dramatic scene that is unfolding before their eyes. I know what they’re thinking; I can see it on their faces… “What kind of idiot would leave a bag in the middle of Grand Central?”
SNIFF! SNIFF! SNIFF! SNIFF! SNIFF! SNIFF!
I step forward.
“Ah, excuse me officers…that bag …it’s mine.”
The German Shepard lifts his snout from the bag, looks up at me and tilts his head.
“Yours?” The officer seems incredulous at first, and then, with a slight smirk on his face again asks, “YOURS?”
“Yeah, Yeah, I know,” I said, “I was in here about 10 minutes ago buying a soda. I was carrying my briefcase and this knapsack and I guess I just forgot…”
“It’s just kind of ironic,” said the officer. “Of all the people to leave a bag behind, (like Vanna White, he runs an outstretched hand up and down the length of my uniform) it’s a conductor. Ha! Ha!”
“Yeah, I know… I’m a knucklehead.”
I could feel my face turning red from embarrassment. I quickly grabbed my bag and tried to make a hasty exit. I almost made it out the door when I heard the officer shout…
Hey! Conductor! I need your name and employee number for my report!
So much for the quick exits.
This was the third time in as many weeks that I left my gym bag behind. Two weeks previous to this experience, I left my bag on the train in New Haven. Luckily, a mechanic found it and turned it into “Lost and Found.” The same day I recovered the bag, I left it on the train again.
My wife often asks, “How is it that you can remember the most trivial of trivia, but you can never remember where you put your stuff?”
“It not easy being me,” I say with a sigh. “It not easy being me.”