This is what my book title of found grocery and other lists will be when I publish it, and it’s inspired by an exact item from one of my all-time favorite list finds (Wal-Mart parking lot, Woodbury, NJ, 2018).
Discovering and picking up scraps of paper that strangers have discarded is fascinating to me, but it’s also kinda gross. I’m a bit of a germophobe and a nearly-compulsive hand washer, so I do my best to suspend any reservations I have about carrying around dirty found-on-the-ground lists until they’re safe at home in a sealed germy box and my hands are thoroughly disinfected. But I must do it. I must pick them up, because any tiny bit of info about humanity I could possibly garner is valuable stuff. It’s a universal thing to want to know about other humans and to figure out how we’re doing by comparison. I read the FOUND zines sometime back in 2015, over a dozen years after they were first published. I’d seen them online and thought they looked interesting, but didn’t read them til later for whatever reason. Turns out later was the right time, because FOUND: The Musical came to town at the end of 2016, and Davy Rothbart came to Temple University in March of 2017. If FOUND hadn’t been on my radar at that time, I probably would have missed both awesome events. We got to meet Davy and his brother Peter (a musician who makes songs out of some of the finds) and read some of our own finds for the podcast he recorded at Temple. Not sure if our reads ever made the cut, but if I find out they did, I’ll post it on here.
I had collected lost handwritten notes before finding FOUND, but after those experiences, I was a hard-core devoted Finder of Lost Lists, Notes, and Other Interesting Things. I post them regularly on #FoundStuffFridays from my Instagram account @themcclectic. It’s the one instance I don’t mind people littering. There are lots of us finders out there, and you’re probably one too–if you’re curious, vigilant, and willing to pick up stepped-on, driven-over crumpled-up papers for a chance of getting a peek into the human brain. We’re ALL quirky, every one of us. Some hide it better than others (not it), and I really enjoy seeing those quirks expressed in something as simple as a grocery list item like ‘cookies (lots of them).’