December 11, 2019 at 6:19 p.m.

Desk keeps key items close at hand

Back in the Saddle

By JACK RONALD
Publisher emeritus

It looks like it’s time to clean my desk again.

Trouble is, I’m working at three desks these days.

And all of them could use some housecleaning.

That’s true of the desk in my office on the second floor of the newspaper building in Portland. It’s true of the desk I’ve been using to help out in the newsroom while we try to fill a couple of editorial positions.

And it’s definitely true of the small computer desk in my study at home.

I’m sitting at that last one, barely able to see the monitor over the clutter as I write this column.

I know there’s plenty of stuff to be thrown away, but there’s even more stuff that I want to keep handy.

Without doing a lot of excavation, I can put my hands on:

•A Fort Wayne TinCaps calendar with next season’s schedule. I’ve booked a concourse “suite” for a Sunday afternoon game in 2020 for a gathering of the Class of ’66.

•At least three highlighters, two of which are probably dry, and at least one pen that is out of ink.

•Miscellaneous business cards including, among others, one from an outfit in England that tracks whales and dolphins, Dunkirk Fire Chief Steve Fields and one from a guy concerned about union pensions who showed up at a legislative town hall several months back.

•A guidebook to Montreal that was purchased in advance of a weekend getaway that had to be canceled because of our temporary shortage of newsroom staff. (I’m hoping that trip can be resurrected one of these days.)

•”Stokes Field Guide to Birds-Eastern Region” by Donald and Lillian Stokes, which is the best bird book we’ve ever found. Connie and I have plenty of others, but the Stokes guide is the most complete, with plenty of pictures to help with identification.

•A 3-inch high twig carved with the face of some sort of woodland spirit. It was whittled by my friend Arnold Clevenger. I really ought to buy three or four more for grandchildren. (The youngest would just put it in her mouth, so I’ll wait on that.)

•Notes from an interview for a story I need to write Sunday night for Monday’s paper and notes from an interview for a story that has already run. The older notes can go into the stack for recycling.

•A golem, a clay figure I bought in the Jewish quarter in Prague a few years back.

•Two boxes of my own business cards and at least half a dozen flash drives, the contents of which have been forgotten.

•Our benefactor membership cards for the Stratford Festival in Ontario.

•Birthday cards from my grandchildren. Julian wrote, “Let me know if you feel awesome. I hope you do!” I did after I read that.

•Some botched attempts to write lyrics for a song two great friends from childhood are writing. I gave up, and I assume they finished the song without me. One of these days I may give it another try, but I am not optimistic about my prospects.

•A 1-inch high brass figure of Ganesha, the Hindu god of good fortune, that was a gift from my buddy Andy in California and a 1-inch high model of a human skull carved in ivory that I inherited from my mother. The skull, part of a Japanese netsuke, was in her jewelry box when I was a child; and I always found it gruesomely fascinating. Both sit atop my iMac at home.

•A little notebook with addresses, phone numbers and passwords that I am likely to forget.

You get the picture.

Now just imagine it multiplied by three.

Maybe, instead of cleaning up this mess, I should just add a fourth desk.
PORTLAND WEATHER

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