Beware the land of the lost
HEROES OF THE GREAT HEAP
OUR local primary school — like every one in Australia — is grappling with a growing mound of lost property.
It’s like the pupils there have incredibly-early-onset dementia, the amount of stuff they forget and leave behind.
Until recently all the lost jumpers, hats, socks, shoes, et cetera would get chucked into a huge wire basket of clothing next to the canteen.
The overall visual effect was of about 100 kids having been vaporised in an alien spaceship laser attack while innocently lining up for lunch, just piles of their indestructible outer garments left behind.
In order to find something in the Great Heap, you’d have to don the Hazmat suit and rummage through its unspeakable horrors, including mouldy sneakers and The Lunchboxes That Time Forgot.
If you were “lucky” you’d resurface, triumphant but traumatised, having squirrelled out your once-missing item, which would then need to be immediately destroyed to stop the spread of plague.
A heroic unit of battleweary parents tried to keep the Great Heap at bay, giving selflessly of their time and health, until reinforcements arrived a few months ago with a newfangled system that’s so orderly it puts air traffic control to shame.
Now, these parents must be the sort of people who divide their Smarties into colour-coded groups, because they spend hours sifting and sorting and categorising all the lost items beautifully by type and size.
They then hang up the uniforms from smallest to largest on a new Lost Property porch and put all the other flotsam and jetsam into designated crates, ready for us to safely fossick through and retrieve lost nuggets.
It’s glorious, and it’s working, and the chronic unlabellers (declaration: me) do not deserve their efforts.
But they haven’t stopped there. These wild optimists want to reduce the recidivism rate by getting the students to take responsibility for their own stuff.
They’ve distributed signs and bag tags across the school with a natty mnemonic* to help the kids remember not to forget.
It’s L.O.S.T. — standing for Lost it, Own it, Search for it, Tag it. This is a huge improvement on the one we have at home: Lost it, Own up to it, Search for your sister’s, Take it.
It remains to be seen if the latest ambitious plan of these hardworking parents succeeds — but we are grateful and if I could find my hat, I would tip it to them.
* Note to self: Achieve YouTube stardom by filming a toddler saying “mnemonic” with a mouthful of dry Weet-Bix.
** Further note to self: Do this outside.
There’s a school jumper in here somewhere ... but you’ll be taking your life in your hands trying to find it.