Monday, May 8, 2017

The Mouse Walrus

And now for something completely different.

Being a Very Forgetful Person, I have devised many methods over the years to remind myself of things. My To-Do lists in Evernote (which include the "Ongoing To Do List" for miscellaneous tasks, as well as at least three for specific projects such as fixing the house) are a good start, but sometimes I forget to look at Evernote!

When there is one small thing that I need to remember to do in a short time frame, I'll often just use an odd object, placed somewhere prominent, to catch my attention and jog my mind into thinking about whatever the thing is. A Forgetful Person could potentially have some problems remembering which task has been mentally assigned to the object, so it helps to use an object that is somehow related to that which needs to be done.

Consider my mouse at the office. A few years ago, I started using a wireless mouse. I resisted going from wired to wireless for a long time, because I have a strong aversion to relying on tools that rely on batteries, because batteries require so much maintenance! However, a change in the configuration of my desk rendered my mouse cord too short, so I reluctantly adopted the wireless mouse as my new pointing device. The problem with this wireless mouse is that it uses a rechargeable battery, and that battery dies after about a week and a half off the charger.

After a few annoying instances of having to stop everything and charge my mouse for an hour, I decided to put my mouse on the charger every Friday after work, so that I could return to the office on Monday with a refreshed battery waiting for me. Charging one's mouse every Friday sounds like a simple habit to get into, but Forgetful Personhood knows no bounds! Almost every single Friday, I was so eager to be going home for the weekend that stopping to drop my mouse on a charger just never happened.

And so, I resorted to my old trick of using a Reminder Object. On my desk, I keep an inbox tray. Since inbox trays are relics of a past era that I fortunately don't live in, I do not need to keep paper in my tray. Instead, I load it with an assortment of toys that I've accumulated over years of going to conferences and receiving goody bags. My inbox tray presently  looks something like this.

And what's that front and center in my inbox tray? Why, it's a walrus. In my search for an object to remind me to charge my mouse, the walrus stood out. A toy mouse would obviously have been better, but I figured a small rendition of any mammal was a pretty close second. So now whenever I think "Today is Friday! Oh, I need to charge the mouse!" (Or, more often, "Shoot! I forgot to charge the mouse on Friday! I must do it when I leave today!") I immediately pull the walrus out of the tray and stick it into the top of my backpack, so when I start packing up for my trip home, I'll see the walrus and remember to move the mouse.

It works, and I've been making good use of the Mouse Walrus for something like 2 and a half years now. And in those 2 and a half years, it never occurred to me to wonder a very important question: "Why does the walrus not have tusks?"

Until last Wednesday. As I was putting the walrus out for a mid-week reminder, I finally noticed the tusklessness that should have been obvious to me long ago. Was my Mouse Walrus actually not a walrus at all?

Frantic internet searches ensued. Yes, both male and female walruses definitively have tusks. No, seals all seem to have pointy noses, not the broad snout of my little toy. Was this one really a juvenile walrus? Although I never came up with a satisfactory answer, I ended up thinking about it all day long. 

On the plus side, this absolutely ensured that I also ended up thinking about my mouse for most of the day as well. My question still remains unanswered, but at least my mouse made it onto the charger!