James Lileks
See more of the story

I’ve bought 347 pairs of gloves during my life, and have lost 346½ pairs.

I bought a new pair at the start of winter. Neon green. They look like you could find them in the dark with a Geiger counter. Gone.

The other day, I found a single black leather driving glove in the kitchen cabinet where the dog food is kept. The odd thing was that it made perfect sense, like finding an egg beater under a sofa cushion. I found an identical glove in the big box of gloves by the door to the garage, and by “identical” I mean it, too, was for the left hand.

It is possible that all gloves, when they lose their mates, assume the identity of the missing one as a form of mourning.

My previous pair of gloves had a little plastic clip on the cuff, so you could attach them together when you took them off. This was a great timesaver because it meant I could lose both at the same time.

As a short guy — or, as we prefer, Fun Sized — I almost can wear my wife’s gloves, but they feel like jeans right out of the drier. My hands gained weight. Must be all that finger food.

Most of her gloves are mittens, anyway, and I don’t like mittens. Some people hate mittens because they might have to flip someone off in traffic, and the message is lost if you just raise a hand; it’s like cursing through a pillow. Besides, at any time a man might need fingers to do something like fix a fence or rope a calf.

But, you say, what of “choppers,” the really serious leather mittens? These are considered work gloves. My neighbor bought me a pair of choppers, because I was snowblowing her walk and mentioned to her that I had lost feeling in my hands about five minutes ago and looked forward to holding them under hot water until they stopped hurting from the cold and started hurting from the heat.

It wasn’t that my gloves were thin; they were sold as cold-weather outdoor-duty, with some special heat-trapping property fit for snowblowing in Antarctica, but this was obviously not the case. The neighbor left the choppers on the doorstep a few days later, which made me wonder what kind of pants I could get if I snowblowed in my boxers.

Anyway. I’ve bought so many, and lost so many. How?

One explanation is that they ran away with socks liberated from the dryer, which now makes me look at all human couples with the thought: “Which one would be the glove, and which one the sock?”

There’s a chance that they fell out of my coat pocket after I’d taken them off when I got inside, but that is unlikely, because this is Minnesota and some one would have said, “Excuse me, sir, you dropped a glove.” OK, they probably do that in other cities, too, but in New York they put a brick in it and throw it at you, because it serves ya right, ya stupid glove-loser.

Or maybe the errant gloves turn into keys and go to the junk drawer.

I know the one place where they are not: my car’s glove compartment.