What Do You Do All Day?
Lester L. Weil
Hayward Fault Line Winner



I once built a house for a retired dentist. One day one of my workers asked him, “What do you do all day?”

After considering, he said, “Mostly I look for things I've misplaced.”

We all, including the dentist, had a good laugh.

But when I retired, I soon found I was spending a lot of time looking for something I had put down somewhere obvious—'where I'll remember'—but now couldn't find. Trying to solve the mystery of where those 'obvious' places resided was becoming a frustrating chore, and wandering around just 'looking for things' began to consume more and more of my time.

For years a bright mixed-race Aborigine lad worked for me. Landscaping, fixing things, etc. Nullah was a whiz at fixing things, he even managed to keep my ancient Rover ute running. One day he said he had to quit. He'd been accepted over at the Sydney Polytechnic and needed a full time job so to save money to go.

That evening I'm sitting and drinking Carlton Draught, looking at my little cottage out back that my son sometimes uses—but hasn't for a couple years, being too busy surfing and chasing sheilas up north. I have a small college fund for him and my daughter, but he isn't interested and she already has three kids.

So then and there I decided. I'll let Nullah use the college fund. And I'll let him stay in the cottage. It was just too overcrowded at his house to study.

Nullah was a good lad, and I liked him. Mum always told me to help people when you can. Cast your bread upon the waters…

* * *

We're sitting on the back lawn with a couple Carltons, swatting bugs and celebrating Nullah finishing third year over at the Polytechnic when he asks me, “Wha'd'ya do all day?”

I laugh, tell him about the dentist and admit “that's mostly me these days” and we have a good laugh. After that I don't see him for a while, but then one Saturday he shows up on the doorstep.

“G'Day, matey. Gotta present for ya. Make short work a findin' things,” he says and hands me a remote kind of thing with a little screen like a cell phone and then goes around the house putting small “these're locator stickers” on various objects.

“What is this thing?”

“It's my new invention. Just look on your remote's list, find the name of whatever's 'lost'. Click on 'er and the pointer will lead ya to the lost object's locator sticker. Ta-da. Un-lost.”

Suddenly I could find whatever I had misplaced—almost instantly. But now…

What do I do with all this spare time?

First published: May 2018
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