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Posts Tagged ‘children’

            You know those plastic tubs margarine and cottage cheese come in? They make handy storage containers for leftovers. As good caretakers of the Earth, we don’t throw them in the garbage. We wash them and store them in the cupboards until they are needed. After holiday dinners, the excess from the feast can go home with guests and no one needs to worry about returning bowls. But if virtue is its own reward, that’s about as far as it goes. How many times have you fished one of these tubs out of the cabinet only to be unable to locate its lid? Conversely, how often have you found a lid that fits no container?

            When my children lived at home, I always had someone to blame. I would accuse them of throwing out a bowl or a cover, but not both, instead of washing them. Or they would carry off one part or the other for some unknown reason and never return it. I would be left with useless, mis-matched dishes. One of the joys of parenthood is having someone else to blame.

            After the last of my offspring moved out for the last time, and I had the house to myself, I set about righting wrongs, bringing order out of chaos. I went through my cupboards and paired every storage container with its lid. The lids with no mates, I discarded. The bowls with no covers were sent to the garden shed. They make handy flower pots and saucers. Order had been restored to my kitchen.

            Or so I thought. As the only cook and consumer, I had total control over what was in my cabinets, right? Wrong. The sad day came when the lid for just the right size tub for a certain volume of leftovers was nowhere to be found. Again, I went through the cupboards making matches. I was astounded by the number of pieces that had lost their mates. Unless my kids came in when I was asleep and purposely removed them, they could not be blamed. How, then, could I account for this enigma?

            One day, I was in my church’s kitchen putting away leftovers after a dinner. In the cabinet labeled “storage containers” I found a neat stack of Cool Whip and hummus tubs. Next to it was a basket full of lids. Not one matched! I was not the only victim of this mysterious occurrence.

            Finally, I have figured it out. You have heard about wormholes in space? You see them all the time in science fiction movies, and serious scientists believe they actually exist. They have no proof, but they have theories. Wormholes would be shortcuts in space-time that would allow travel from one part of the universe to another, or from one universe to another. These theories aren’t even new. Almost 100 years ago, a mathematician named Hermann Weyl had such an idea.

            The reason the scientists have as yet no proof of wormholes’ existence is that they are looking in the wrong place. I have no better theory about my disappearing containers and lids than the existence of a wormhole somewhere in my cupboards. It’s a small wormhole, too small for a space ship. Other kitchens have them as well, including the one at my church. Maybe you have one, too. From time to time a bowl or its cover will slip through the wormhole and end up in some other kitchen. Since I have found unfamiliar containers and lids in mine, I know it works both ways. Maybe this is where the idea of flying saucers came from.

            If only we could figure out which kitchens are connected to which others by these wormholes, we might be able to retrieve our prodigal dishes. A thorough study of this phenomenon could result in a major breakthrough in physics. It might even win a Nobel Prize. I invite any serious scientist to come explore my cupboards.

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