There are times when my propensity to get myself into embarrassing situations amazes even me. However, I’m not surprised this behavioral tendency has became the norm in recent years.

Around age 20, we humans begin to lose neurons (also known as brain cells) to the aging process. By age 75, nearly one-tenth of the 1 trillion brain cells we were born with have died. Researchers estimate about 85,000 neurons die every day; that’s about one per second. We produce only 1,400 new ones daily.

Our brain’s processing power and memory peak when we’re 18. Around age 20, we begin to lose brain cells. Our short-term memory is strongest at about 25 and starts to fade by age 35.

Since I’m now 74, I believe my latest faux pas (“embarrassing act”) should be viewed with sympathy rather than condemnation.

A few weeks ago, as I dressed to head to Janesville’s Senior Center to play cards, I couldn’t find my bra. (Mom called it a “brassiere,” which sounds much more sophisticated.)

I looked where I always put it, on the middle shelf of a not-so-deep, bedroom closet. Puzzled, I also searched the other shelves. No luck. I then looked elsewhere and everywhere. And I mean everywhere!

To most women, misplacing a bra is no big deal. However, I’m not “most women.” I’m a 20-year, Stage 3 breast cancer survivor who has had two mastectomies. That means I not only lost my bra; I lost both of my breast prostheses.

I tried not to panic. I’ve gone without them before, but usually only at home or while wearing “concealing clothing” in public, like a bulky sweatshirt.

As I searched, I began singing that old song, “Where or where, has my little dog gone...” With different lyrics, of course.

I freely admit I’ve misplaced “my girls” in the past. Once, during a blistering hot summer day, I found them under my upstairs office desk. I had taken them off while working at my computer and placed them on the floor near my chair.

Back to my sad tale:

After a time-consuming, extensive search, I found my wayward bra where I initially thought I had put it: On the middle shelf of that bedroom closet. It was an avalanche victim, buried under a mountain of socks.

When I arrived at the senior center, I immediately blurted, “I’m sorry I’m late. I couldn’t find my boobs!” All the women were very understanding. (Thankfully, no men were present that day.)

“Maybe your dog ate them,” one woman suggested. (We don’t own a dog.)

My husband’s sister said, “Maybe Fred took them with him deer hunting.” (Very funny, Peggy Sue.)

When Fred finally arrived home, I told him about my search. I jokingly said, “I guess I should have checked the freezer first.”

Suddenly, a serious look spread across my husband’s face, and his voice dripped with concern.

“Is that where you found them?” he hesitatingly asked

Feeling insulted, I snapped, “No, of course not.”

I resisted the urge to add, “Well, not yet.”

Leanne Lippincott-Wuerthele, a native of Milton, who has lived in Minnesota and Iowa, has been writing Sunny Side Up for about 40 years. A graduate of Milton Union High School and Milton College, she has written four books. She has two children, three stepchildren, and a blended family that includes 11 grandkids.

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