by Greg Schwem

I know my memory is ebbing as I age. Why else would I run to the Apple Store at least twice a year to replace charging chords I was CERTAIN I had packed before leaving the hotel room or home share property where I spend so much of my time now that I’m traveling again?
But I refuse to blame the alarming disappearance of wardrobe items on my mental faculties. Especially when my daughters are convinced a haunted spirit, one that seems to grow more annoying each day, lives within my family’s confines.
As I write this, I am still searching for a sweatshirt, adorned with my youngest daughter’s college emblem, that I planned to wear on a recent campus visit. I ended up having to purchase one at the university bookstore. Is it me or do colleges double the prices on souvenirs when parents’ weekend rolls around?
My oldest daughter, living at home while she completes an online master’s degree, is convinced the ghost took it.
“What ghost?” I asked, while tearing apart my closet and finding, among other things, an insurance card from 1997 and a receipt from a local paint store.
“The one that randomly closes my door,” she said. “And turns on the ceiling fan light when I’m sleeping. That happened last week.”
She is also convinced the ghost is male, as evidenced by the low voice she claimed to have heard one night while watching television; a voice her sister also heard from the other room.
“He took your sweatshirt for sure,” she said.
I scoffed at her supernatural beliefs, certain the shirt would turn up eventually.
Until my shorts disappeared too.
I had returned from a workout and, a day later, realized they were missing. Normally I wouldn’t care; I do possess other exercise attire, unlike some of the guys at my gym. I don’t know the name of the dude who spends 30 minutes every morning on the elliptical machine, but I do know he is very fond of his 1985-86 Chicago Bears Super Bowl T-shirt. On the rare day he is absent, I assume he is doing laundry.
But then I remembered I had put my driver’s license in these shorts. Ever lose your driver’s license? It limits your ability to perform a myriad of functions, only one of which is driving.
I searched my closet. I emptied my laundry hamper. I did the same to a half-unpacked suitcase from a previous trip. I strained my back pulling the washer and dryer away from the wall, convinced the shorts had fallen behind one of them. I checked unlikely places, including under my bed, my office desk drawers and even our kitchen pantry. I know that’s weird, but I once shut the pantry door not realizing our dog was in there. Never a barker, she simply laid down and napped until dinner time.
Meanwhile, my daughter watched from the doorway.
“It’s the ghost,” she said.
“It’s not the ghost,” I yelled in frustration, gesturing with a hand dripping in last week’s garbage. The shorts weren’t in there either.
“I know I did not leave the gym without pants. Somebody would have noticed. Probably the police.”
That evening I announced I would be getting up early to obtain a new license at the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles. If the shorts turned up, I gave my wife and daughter strict instructions not to move them.
“Do not disturb the crime scene,” I said.
The next morning the shorts were neatly folded on my bathroom vanity.
“They were in my suitcase,” my wife said. “Don’t ask me how they ended up there.”
But I know EXACTLY how they ended up there.
The male ghost is trying to drive me insane.
So he can move in on my wife.
(Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author of two books: “Text Me If You’re Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad” and the recently released “The Road To Success Goes Through the Salad Bar: A Pile of BS From a Corporate Comedian,” available at Visit Greg on the web at
You’ve enjoyed reading, and laughing at, Greg Schwem’s monthly humor columns in Senior Living News. But did you know Greg is also a nationally touring stand-up comedian? And he loves to make audiences laugh about the joys, and frustrations, of growing older. Watch the clip and, if you’d like Greg to perform at your senior center or senior event, contact him through his website at