Science of locating lost things remains mystery

Coffee Buddy and I were enjoying a periodic get-together at our favorite local hangout. Our talks are enlightening and always enjoyable. We have many interests in common and that, along with a lifetime of shared history, is why we still get together on a regular basis to talk.

As usual our caffeinated conversation was all over the map. At one point, C-Bud shared a story and then linked it to an interesting theory he has stumbled across. The other day, he explained, he took the cap off a gallon of milk, and placed it on the counter. When he was finished pouring, he looked for the cap, but it was gone. He checked the counter, the floor and his own hands, just to be sure. “Things like that ever happen to you?”

“Sure,” I said. “Maybe they occur more often these days than before. I figure it has to do with getting older and not possessing as sharp a memory as I once like to think I had.”

Now, C-Bud has always had an abiding curiosity in what I would call alternate ways of seeing the world. He is interested in how some on the outer edges of science and research process reality in non-traditional ways. He follows eagerly the stories of people who claimed to have been abducted by aliens. He also is intrigued with tales of paranormal experiences. So I was not totally surprised when he suggested that some people say that when objects we thought were in a certain place inexplicably go missing it is because of an inconsistency in the universe, because there has been a break or tear in the space-time continuum. “Some say it has to do with quantum physics,” he added.

Now, as I said, it is true that we have many common interests, but it is also true that I am somewhat less taken with the idea of alternate realities than is C-Bud. Let’s just say this enthusiasm with the paranormal is one area where our Venn diagrams don’t exactly intersect. “Still,” I mused as I sat there sipping my coffee, “a wrinkle in the space-time continuum would explain a lot.” I was thinking in particular of a music book that has been missing for a couple of years.

It is a hymnal in which I have written chords, diagrams and notes to myself. I have bookmarked and paper-clipped its pages. It is a very useful tool for me, and I am sorry it can’t be found. Believe me, I am looking everywhere. Well, not everywhere but on all the shelves, stacks, corners and cubbyholes where I think it could possibly be. I have also asked people who might know of its whereabouts. (I am using the present tense to write about losing this book because I am certain it is still somewhere in the universe, and if I accept that it has fallen through a crack in the S-T continuum, I can hope that someday it will be found.)

A disruption in the S-T continuum would account for missing keys, wallets, cell phones and other small, pocket necessities that so often turn up missing in my life. This would also explain the experience almost everyone has had of those mysterious socks that go in but never come out of the clothes dryer. Perhaps scientists will someday show that the common dryer door doubles as some sort of paranormal portal to a mysterious parallel reality.

Well, I am not quite ready to sign off on the theory of an alternate universe or on the possibility that my missing music book can be found there. But, as is always the case, my caffeinated conversation with C-Bud has given me something to think about.

Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to