My wife called me at the office. “Honey, where’d you put Darth Vader?”
I thought back to my 8-year old son’s birthday party over the previous weekend. My wife had borrower the Darth Vader game piece from his Star Wars Monopoly game, inserting it into a cupcake. At the party, she planned to distribute cupcakes to all of the kids. The one who got the Darth Vader would win a prize.
The game went off well, even though several kids decided to forgo eating and just squashed the cupcake in their hands. When the little piece was discovered, it was still covered in cake, so I retrieved it, washed it off, and showed it to the partygoers.
“It’s on the counter, right behind the basket with the chips.”
“No, it’s not. I checked there.”
“How about behind the sink?”
“On the desk next to the fridge.”
I paused. This was a mini-emergency. My eight-year old is a Star Wars fanatic and Darth Vader is his favorite character. We can’t lose this piece. “Honey, I’ll look for it when I get home.”
“You’ll never find it. I’m sure of it. It’s gone.”
When I got home that evening, I gave my kids hugs and immediately began a search. I first examined the places I’d already mentioned. No luck.
“Did you find it?” my wife asked.
“You didn’t put it away, did you. You could have taken an extra minute and put it away instead of leaving it out. No, you had to show it to the other kids.”
“You’re not suggesting one of his friends took it, are you?”
My wife shook her head. “No, I’m just saying one of them picked it up and then left it somewhere else. It’s gone.”
“Honey, don’t worry. We’ll find it.”
“YOU’LL find it.” Her elevated tone left no room for discussion.
We had dinner and I went back to my search. Upstairs. Downstairs. Finally, I had an idea. Think like a kid. If I’d picked up, where would I put it? I immediately started looking on the floor. I found it after turning over my second piece of furniture.
“Great. Where was it?”
I thought about telling her what I’d gone through, but figured it would be better to skip it. “It was on the floor.”
“Can you put it away this time, please?”
And I did.
On the desk next to the fridge.