Lesson #93: Hash Browns Help With Panic Attacks


Dear Blue,

This morning was just like any other morning. You woke us up at dawn with a playful slap across the face, I took a shower, and we ate hash browns. That’s Monday. As I said goodbye and went to the door, however, I went to grab my keys from the little basket next to our door and –GASP!- they were not there.


Panic and mudslides are similar, Blue. They tend to start off with slow momentum, but there’s no denying that there’s a real, potentially devastating force moving behind the scenes. If not dealt with properly, both can get out of hand quickly.


So my keys were missing. No big deal. They’re probably just in my shorts pocket.




Okay. Breathe. Maybe they’re in the folds of the couch, buried in the graveyard of broken Hot Wheels.




Panic starts to gain a foothold. My brain starts to move faster to stay ahead of it, but this doesn’t do any good. A panicked brain is a fast brain, but it’s also the kind of brain that runs into walls. I pick apart the clothes in my drawer at least six times after checking the back of the tv stand seven times, ping ponging back and forth between the two.


Still no keys.


“Retrace your steps,” your mom says.


I stop to breathe and eat a hash brown. This is an important step to dealing with panic, Blue. Stop to eat those hash browns.


I follow her advice afterwards. The end result is that I end up checking my drawer and the back of the tv stand a seventh and eighth time, respectively.


Very late for work, I surrender the search and decide that they are somewhere in the house. They will be found. Oh yes, they will be found. I manage to track down my spare set of keys, except there’s one problem. They don’t include the key to my door. There’s a reason for this. It involves a dinner at a Malaysian restaurant and a screwdriver. I will tell you this later.


For now, since I don’t have the door key, I have to wave the white flag and call roadside assistance. This is how the conversation goes:


“Good morning, sir. Before I can help you, may I please have your name?”


I tell her my name.


“And just to verify your account, can you tell me your phone number?”


Phone number gets told.


“In order to better serve you, what is your address?”


Address given.


“Do you prefer chocolate or strawberry ice cream?”




“One more question. If you are traveling to Albuquerque from Los Angeles at 60 miles an hour, and a train is traveling to Albuquerque from Austin at 120 miles an hour, which will get to Albuquerque first, taking into account all designated stops for passenger pick up and refueling.”


“Uh…the car.”


“Okay, how can I help you?”


“I locked myself out of my car and need to get in.”


“You poor thing. We’ll send someone out right away.”


“Okay, I will meet you…”


As I’m saying this, I glance to the shoe rack on the wall, and see a tiny glint of metal through a peephole in your toy barn. The rising tide of panic and frustration immediately subsides.


“Nevermind, ma’am. I found them.”


My keys were right there, sitting in your toy.


“Oh yeah,” your mother says with a sheepish smile. “I remember now. We were playing with them the other day. I must have left them in there.”


I didn’t say a word. I just ate another hash brown.







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