birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Little Forgotten Big Things

Things forgotten can be annoying or painful. Before traveling abroad I almost always have anxiety dreams about forgetting my passport. However, the two stories that popped in my mind when I thought about things I had forgotten are these two.

I was an executive director of a non-profit research institute years ago and I had been asked to fly to Geneva to meet with some rich donors. It was not part of my job to do that, but my boss, one of the board members asked me to go. I had high respect for him and considered it an honor but surely was not enthusiastic about meeting gruff old rich men. I was, after all only 32 at the time. The trip was only for two days so I didn’t need to pack much. After checking into my hotel, I called my boss to let him know I was here. He said we had to meet the donors in an hour, so I hurriedly got dress in my suit and was about to meet him in the lobby. To my horror I discovered that I neglected to pack black socks—I only had white socks for my dark business suit. I called my boss telling him my dilemma and asked him to run out and buy me some socks. I don’t remember if he laughed or not, but he dutifully went out and bought the socks.

The other story I remember is when my then wife and I decided to take out 5-year old and his baby sister on a winter skiing vacation in New Hampshire. The two of us generally hate snow, but we thought as good parents we should expose our children to that white stuff, the cold, the slush, the misery—okay, to the joys of a wintery wonderland. I knew I was going to be miserable but luckily the one salvation was the indoor pool and hot tub. When not rolling in the snow with the kids I intended on being in that pool. Then I found out I had forgotten my bathing suit. With great determination, I decided no matter what and no matter how ridiculous I looked I was going to fit into that solitary bathing suit sold by the woefully understocked ski shop. Of course, they wouldn’t have a wide range of bathing suits. I squeezed into this orange polka dot brief swimsuit that looked like a leftover from the 1970s, which I think was about two sizes to small. I made it. My wife spent the next two hours laughing, but luckily, we were the only people in the pool.

Dream Date

All Grown Up