You know how it is.

You go to do something you’ve done a million times before, but this time it goes down entirely differently.

You look at an object that’s always in the same spot and is always treated in exactly the same manner, but for some inexplicable reason there’s something strangely different about it.

A routine task becomes an all-out battle against the odds, a familiar and simplistic chore that has always required only a couple of steps to perform suddenly demands 10 more, or something seemingly impossible happens – usually preventing the fulfillment of something important at the most inopportune time.

Such are the little mysteries of life, which sometimes seem to defy all logic, or even the laws of physics.

Certainly, some of the following questions will spur memories and visuals born of experience.

What causes those backward coils to appear in a telephone’s handset cord?

Why do we sometimes forget how to drink water and end up choking?

When we go to stuff a piece of food in our faces, how do we sometimes miss our mouths?

How does your key get stuck in a door you’ve used it in a million times before?

And what force suddenly randomly releases the key after you’ve spent a half-hour working with it, even removing the door knob assembly, using several hand tools, and spraying everything in sight with WD40?

How does a nail laying flat on the ground puncture a tire at a perfect 90-degree angle?

Why do I smash my shoulder against a doorjamb or a corner where two rooms meet, even though I’ve successfully walked past the same spot a thousand times? That one’s all mine; and it’s always my left shoulder – never, ever my right.

How is it that you can barely brush the side of your finger against the edge of a piece of paper and end up with strip of sliced flesh a quarter-inch deep?

Why is it so hard to open a new jar of pickles (even when you use a rubber lid-grabber or one of those weird plastic fan-shaped contraptions), but then when you give up and hand it to your 78-year-old Aunt Mable, she opens it effortlessly?

Why does the phone remain silent for hours and then ring three times in 10 minutes when you’re busy cooking a dish that requires close attention?

How does that little black nozzle cap disappear when you fill a tire with air?

And where does it go?

How does the last tiny screw needed to finish a project simply disappear when you drop it in the grass directly below you?

And where does it go?

How does a sock permanently vanish when you’re doing laundry?

And where in the Sam Hill does it go?

How does a dog sleeping three rooms away know you opened a baggie containing half a block of cheese and then come walking right up to you?

When you know you put your keys “here,” why do you sometimes find them “there?”

Why does a shoelace never break unless you’re in a hurry?

Of course, the number of these kinds of questions is much closer to infinite than the scant few listed here, because such is the nature of life’s little mysteries.

But I guess the bottom line is, there’s no reason to fret, and no explanation needed. This kind of thing just goes with the territory here on the third planet from a small star situated toward the edge of an average spiral galaxy in God’s immense creation.

I figure there’s one popular saying that applies here as well as it does anywhere else (or maybe better): “It is what it is.”

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald.


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