Every Time

Every time someone gets up, he or she will shed a scrap of paper without noticing – maybe not every time he stands up, but definitely every time he stands up and “goes” somewhere. It’s a known fact. Going to the bathroom? Going outside? Going to the car? Going down the hall or across a bridge? Lose a piece of paper.

If you’re carrying your dirty dishes to the bus tub before leaving a cafe, a crumpled tissue will fall off your plate. As someone leaves his apartment building, he’ll reach into his pocket to feel for his keys one last time. When he pulls his hand back, now confident that he’ll be able to get back into the building later, a receipt will be freed from the pocket and will blow away into a corner of the entrance. Two friends who run into each other in the street and walk for awhile, arguing over a misunderstanding, will get to a street corner where one has to cross in one direction and the other has to cross in another. One friend will trip and drop his latte. He’ll bend over to pick it up (while the coffee leaks slowly out of the tiny sipper hole in the lid) and one of the extra sugar packets he’d taken from Starbucks will slip out of his shirt pocket and fall in the gutter. While waiting for the signal to change, the other friend will put his jacket on and a phone number will slip from a pocket and then away with the wind. If someone is going upstairs, she’ll drop a dollar on the landing. If she’s poor, she’ll only lose a dime. That’s the only exception to the rule.

If you noticed that you dropped a scrap of paper when you got up to go somewhere, then you must have dropped a second scrap that you didn’t see, because you never notice the dropped scrap of paper. If you don’t lose a scrap of paper when you get up, then you’re not really going anywhere, even if you think that you are.

Categorized as Before


  1. Jeff,
    Maybe it’s a west coast thing, the paper. My experience in the mid-west has been with coins. Always a coin in the car on the counter under the soda machine or in the street. I am grateful it’s only change though, the paper thing must get expensive.

  2. Funny. I have been noticing this a lot lately… In fact, I think that I carry far too many bits of paper around in my bag and was finding a way to rid myself of them. Perhaps that is why I drop them… subliminally, I just want them to disappear.

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