Once upon a time, in the midst of a conversation with one of my college buddies, I had an insight so profound and epochal that it would have changed how we view the nature of good and evil, clarified humanity’s place in the universe, and led to a workable design for cold fusion automobile engines.

When I shared this insight with my friend, he agreed that it was, in fact, spectacularly brilliant. I would have written it down, but he objected, claiming that I wouldn’t need to write it down if it was a truly great idea. I agreed.

Naturally, I forgot what the idea was, and so did my friend. When I reminded him about his lame advice a few years later, he said, “Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking when I said that.” That’s what I get for listening to other people.

Thus I try to keep pen and paper nearby whenever possible. For instance, I have a pen and notepad on my nightstand in case any noteworthy thoughts strike me as I drift off to slumber, or awaken from slumber, or just happen to be near where I slumber. They might be something as simple as a reminder to run a certain errand the next day, or something as paradigm-shifting as the aforementioned but long-forgotten world-changer.

So last night around four, I jolted awake with a great idea for an essay. I jotted down the idea and went back to sleep, proud that I wouldn’t lose this thought because I wrote it down with my trusty pen on my trusty paper.

I woke up this morning, showered, had my tea, and checked to see what I’d written down. Turns out I hadn’t written anything on the notepad, but I had managed to scrawl something on a mangled subscription postcard from The Economist. And the idea wasn’t… well, here it is:

Ds “You” or whomevar you last saw coning right af you

I have no idea what this means.

I’m pretty certain it was supposed to be “Do ‘You’ or whomever you last saw coming right at you.” But even that isn’t much help. I didn’t write anything on the back of the card. I have no idea what the rest of the question was supposed to be, or what it refers to. I have no idea why “you” is capitalized, or why it’s in quotation marks. I am at a total loss.

Oh well. Perhaps I should contact The Economist and tell them to make their postcards bigger.