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The Villages
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Do you believe in Gremlins?

Lisa DeMarco

Have you ever heard of Gremlins? 

Not the little critters from the popular 1980s movie, but the legend of “Gremlins.” 

According to folklore, these so-called mythical creatures are mischievous menaces that love to cause havoc. During wartimes, gremlins were considered mysterious troublemakers inclined to damage or dismantle machinery. Motorcyclists believe these little goblins’ sole intention is to force riders to crash so that they can add notches to their belts. 

Even my husband, a non-believing Harley enthusiast, always has a gremlin bell on his bike when he rides. Myth has it the sound of a tinkling bell seems to confuse them and stop them in their tracks, or they get trapped in the hollow of the bell.

Personally, I wholeheartedly believe they exist, and much like “guardian angels,” I think sometimes they connect to a specific person for life. Unfortunately, I swear one has dedicated himself to following my younger daughter, Makenzie Rae, around.

Consider those moments we’ve all had when we have something in our hand that we need to use, but we somehow lose the object before performing the task we needed it for. It could be a screwdriver, your sunglasses, a piece of paper with a significant number on it, or your car keys. Whatever it is, you know you just had it. You are sure it should be right where you last saw it, yet now it is missing; not just misplaced or out of sight, but literally GONE!

“Where on Earth could it be?” you repeat to yourself a couple of dozen times before you finally decide to give up. This is where the gremlins come in. Whether magical or not, I believe these little brutes are real and have tormented me for decades.

Although I have never actually seen one, these rascals have kept me searching relentlessly for things that always manage to show up after I no longer need them, usually in the exact place I had been looking for it. Strange right?

Once, when Makenzie was still a toddler drinking formula, I had made her a bottle at her request. I put it on the table in her playroom, where she and her older sister watched a movie. A few minutes later, she came to me complaining that she wanted her bottle.

I explained to her,  “It is in the playroom, where I just put it.”

“No,” she said. “There’s no bottle.”

Confused, I walked her back to the playroom and pointed to where I had left it. Just like she said, there was no bottle. For a moment, I thought maybe my girls were pranking me, yet they both seemed sincere when they said they were not.

So, where did it go? To “Goblin Land,” I guess because I searched my entire house to find it turning over couch cushions and checking in cabinets. I even looked in the garbage! I figured if I didn’t know where it was, then I didn’t know where it wasn’t. So I checked everywhere for days, but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks later, while I was cleaning up the playroom, that I found the now congealed bottle of disgustingness right there on the corner of the table, where I was sure I had put it the day it disappeared?!

This wasn’t my only experience with gremlins. Another time, my husband Joe’s eyeglasses vanished. He swore they were right where he always put them, on a shelf in the living room, next to the T.V remote controls. Yet this day, they were nowhere to be found. Like all the other times, we searched everywhere. We tore the house apart and even checked places we knew they wouldn’t be like the garage, the sheds, our cars, and our closed storage bins. 

We looked everywhere, but they were gone, only to reappear after he had already made an eye doctor’s appointment, ordered new glasses, and wasted nearly $300. Yes, with his new glasses on his face, his old ones miraculously turned up in the compartment of Makenzie’s “Clifford The Big Red Dog” push toy. 

We also lost three cordless house phones three years in a row during our annual Halloween party, which like everything else, only resurfaced after we gave up our endless search and purchased a new one.

This last visit from our not-so-friendly gremlin was almost the straw that broke the camel’s back, causing me to react in a way that the nice men in white jackets would have come with a straight-jacket and taken me away.  

Over Thanksgiving, we visited my long-time friend, Suzie, in Tarpon Springs. Makenzie met Jeremy and me there, and we spent the day enjoying the town like tourists. She took us to the sponge docks. We walked on the pier, shopped for souvenirs, ate authentic Greek cuisine, watched the sunset, and in doing all this, Makenzie somehow managed to lose her $900 iPhone.

One minute she had it, and the next, it was gone. It was not until the waiter came to deliver our Saganaki, a flaming fried cheese delight, that she realized her phone was not in her purse where she thought it was. Sad that she wouldn’t be able to post a picture of our appetizer to her story, I let her borrow my phone for the minute, and all seemed fine. We assumed she left it at Suzie’s home or dropped it in her car. Either way, we weren’t overly concerned.

Until we realized it was not in Suzie’s car or her house or anywhere else, we looked. Of course, we tried calling it, and we used the app to try and locate it, but nothing would work. Even though my child swore the phone was on and fully charged, now it was not only dead, but even our network’s top technicians couldn’t help us to locate it.

So, trying not to ruin our visit, after several hours of racking our brains and searching every inch of my friend’s 5,000 square foot home, plus three balconies, a front and back yard, boat dock, hammocks, hot tub, and roadways, we gave up! We figured Suzie would find it somewhere after New Year’s when she took down all her Christmas decorations.

I knew we had insurance on the phone, and we could easily replace it. But, all of Makenzie’s data, contacts, and photographs would be gone, basically erasing her entire “teenage” life, not to mention her complete sense of direction. Without the internet maps to guide her, she could barely find her way out of bed. We had to get directions off my phone to write them down on an actual piece of paper with a pen – noting mile marker and all so that she wouldn’t get lost on her way home.

And again, just like we all knew deep down, the phone showed up right after the holidays ended. Oddly in Suzie’s car, stuck between the seat and the console, precisely where we had all checked multiple times that day but found nothing! 

I was grateful to bring closure to the incident and give my baby girl back all her memories. However, I can honestly say that it was her dang gremlin again! Somewhere in a different dimension or realm, all of our missing socks, keys, electronic devices are in being stashed away for the sole purpose of annoying us, only to be returned at their discretion. 

So remember to keep a bell near, and try not to lose your cool the next time you lose something. I’m sure the gremlins will return it eventually.

Laugh on. Peace Out!

Lisa DeMarco is a columnist for Villages-News.com.

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