The uses of accordions

I have decided to believe in synchronicity. And signs. Symbols, too. I also believe in the possibility that these things have absolutely no meaning at all. Still: many years ago I was walking through an empty lot near my house agonizing over whether or not to break up with my boyfriend, and I spied a doggeared old playing card half-hidden in the weeds. I turned it over with the toe of my shoe: it was the Extra Joker. As Alan Watts used to say, "When you get the message, hang up the phone."

The people at Found magazine are well aware of this curious tension running through modern life: the fervent wish to believe that the smallest coincidences have meaning; the knowledge that they have only the meaning one assigns to them. Found invites readers to send them artifacts and objects and stories about objects they stumble across in their daily lives: love letters, photographs, ticket stubs, drawings, poems on napkins -- "anything that gives a glimpse into someone else's life."

Found collects famous people's stories about found stuff too. For example: When Ken Kesey was a boy he found an old accordion. It didn't work so he and his brother took the thing apart, really dismantled it completely. Inside they found a note that read: "WHAT THE HELL YOU LOOKING IN HERE FOR, DAISY MAE?" Wrote Kesey, "Well, I achieved some kind of satori right there -- knowing that somebody had sometime, a very long while ago, gone in there and put that sign in the accordion, and he's betting all the time that someday somebody's going to come along and find it."

Kesey the accordion-dissector grew up to become a novelist, which is nearly the same thing. Keep an eye out for unintended messages. If you intercept them at the right time, in the right frame of mind, they may change your life.

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