Iím starting to wonder how much of Appleís business comes from gadgets that are lost, accidentally laundered to death or unwittingly tossed into the garbage. Itís been two weeks now since I last saw my iPod. I havenít a clue to where I put it. Iíve been through my house and my car with a fine-toothed comb. Itís like looking for a cell phone on the median of I-80. Donít ask. At least you can call your cell phone and follow the ring. Try that with an iPod. No, itís sitting out there, somewhere in plain sight, teasing me, toying with me, hiding from me, playing vintage Yes songs to my cat. Should I buy another one or keep looking? As soon as I return from the frivolous doohickey store, Iím sure to find the old one within minutes.

At least I know it didnít go into the wash, which is how most of my friends lose their MP3 players and cell phones. My brother-in-law dropped his in the hot tub. Dropping them into the toilet bowl seems to be a very popular way of turning $89 gizmos into trash. They are so thin and tiny now that you have better luck finding a quarter at the bottom of your pocket than some of these miniature devices.

I heard a story about one guy who was missing his brand-new, ultra-thin, ultra-light laptop computer. He was using it on the kitchen table in the morning, and when he came home that afternoon he couldnít find it anywhere. He thinks he bundled it up with all the morning newspapers by accident and put it in the recycle bin. The final indignity will come when they fine him for mixing metal waste in with paper waste.

Which is one reason why the iPad is so popular. Itís too big to put in your pocket. You canít miss it in the laundry basket, and it makes a big thump if you throw it in the garbage can by accident. You canít lose it on your nondigital desktop, unless, like me, youíre a real slob. I once spent two days trying to find my digital camera. It was in the fridge under some cold cuts. Donít ask. I was just happy it was in the fridge and not under the cold cuts on my desk. Last week my wife thought my external hard drive was a coaster. It was the only thing on my desk not covered in newspapers, food wrappers or mail.

I have learned my lesson. Now when I see an ad for some must-have gadget that is ďsmall enough to put on your key ringĒ or ďsmaller than a sprinkle on a doughnutís cheek,Ē I donít buy it. Iíll wait until they can put 10 or 20 gadget sprinkles together in one big gadget that will be too big to lose -- something huge, like the size of a TV remote. Of course we lost that several years ago. Now, if itís not on ESPN, I donít watch it.

Sue said I donít need an iPod to listen to CDs, or that I could always pull out our old turntable and play the records we bought back when Edison was a baby. A turntable? Is she kidding? I said I had just been through my LPs a few weeks ago, and they looked huge. Why, you could put every vinyl disc I ever owned on my iPod and still have room for 20 audio books. Sue came back a few minutes later with my iPod.

ďIt was right next to the turntable, where you left it.Ē

Jim Mullen is the author of ďIt Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple LifeĒ and ďBabyís First Tattoo.Ē You can reach him at

Copyright 2010, United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

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