Dad, I don't have any shirts."
"What do you mean, you don't have any shirts?"
"I mean I don't have any shirts."
"As in, none?"
"As in, two."
"So you do have some shirts."
"Yeah, but I don't like those two shirts, and they don't fit. You need to find out where my other shirts are."
I need to find out where they are? I wanted to reply. You need to find out where they are.
Then I remembered something. He's 12. Losing stuff is what 12-year-olds do. It's kind of their job. They lose school projects. They lose CD cases. They'd lose the family car if we let them drive, which is probably why we don't.
When they're not losing stuff, they're forgetting stuff. They forget to take out the trash. They forget to do their homework. They forget everything there is to forget except the lyrics to parental advisory songs. Between all that losing and forgetting, it's like they're holding down two jobs. It's a wonder, really, they have time for anything else.
Which may explain why they mumble. The twin endeavors of losing and forgetting must take so much out of them that they don't have the energy to enunciate. Or, for that matter, to even sit up. Twelve-year-olds are like mercury, spilling over whatever surface they're on or around, slouching into chairs, their arms akimbo all over the dinner table.
The one thing 12-year-olds don't do is find stuff. That's a parent's job. Telling him to find his shirts would result, somehow, in him having no pants, too.
"Did you put them in the laundry?"
"Then that's where they are. I'll do them today."