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Years ago a friend and I were flying from San Francisco to Boise, Idaho.  “Why would anyone do that?” I hear you ask.  That’s a story for another time, or another pub.  For now, the point is, we were taxiing out to the runway for takeoff, and as we lumbered out onto the tarmac I noticed a fork, an ordinary dinner fork, right on the edge of the taxi-way.  Once we got past the tipsy giggles about the “fork in the road” we began to consider what possible scenario could account for its presence there.  It was too far out for it to have fallen off a catering truck; it wouldn’t have fallen out of someone’s lunch box – we were on the taxi-way, after all.  So where in the world did it come from?

This got me thinking.  We’ve all seen the occasional odd thing that appeared in an unlikely place.  I recall seeing a rather handsome pair of dress-making scissors in the middle of a highway intersection on the outskirts of Kansas City late one night.  And of course we all see the gumboot by the roadside, or a single shoe on the sidewalk in downtown Pittsburg.  Sometimes the items are even stranger:  a pair of salad tongs on the floor in the foyer of a large medical center;  a purple apron in your clothes dryer, even though you’ve never owned an apron of any color.  No doubt everyone has experienced such peculiar sightings.

I believe I have the answer.  Indeed, it is the answer to two of the World’s Great Mysteries:  where do these things come from and how did they get to be where they are, and where do all the socks go?  Not just socks, mind you, but a vast assortment of things that just disappear, without any possibility of them having been removed from the room by a person.  Marriages hang by a thread because of such events, and yet it is entirely likely that no one is really to blame for the disappearance of the disputed item.

Let me explain.  I believe there is a Cosmic Cupboard which is responsible for both the disappearance of random items, and their re-appearance in another place – usually an unlikely place.  It would work something like this:  The Cosmic Cupboard randomly extracts items from anywhere, and with equal randomness it spews the items back out.  Say, a wool glove falls out of the coat pocket of a woman in Hobart, Tasmania- now still in winter – and is sucked up by the Cosmic Cupboard.  Almost simultaneously the glove is found in front of the counter at a bakery in Muncie, Indiana, on the hottest day of the year.  Similar events are happening all around the world every day.

I think it is highly likely that tumble dryers are special portals to the Cosmic Cupboard.  They certainly aren’t the only pathway, but they do seem to experience much more traffic than any other place.  The box of single socks that everyone has in their laundry demonstrates the point adequately.

Admittedly, I don’t have any actual proof of my theory, but the anecdotal evidence is immense.  Significantly, no alternative explanation has ever been proven either.  In fact, I’ve never been able to find an alternate theory.  And yet we all know it happens.  We can prove that it happens; we just can’t prove how it happens.  I rest my case.               MM

P.S.  There is absolutely no evidence that the Cosmic Cupboard is involved in the disappearance of human beings or animals.  So don’t bother trying to use it as an excuse for unexplained absences.