Life on planet Earth involves a constant flow of unusual, unexpected or unexplainable experiences and circumstances.

While there might not be answers to them, here are a handful of questions related to that theme.

Why do we sneeze?

You can be sitting at your desk at work or on the couch at home and suddenly sneeze three times in a span of less than 40 seconds. Then you don’t sneeze again for the rest of the day.

I’d kind of like to know what happened at that moment that made your body go into expulsion mode.

Why do we choke when water (or some other liquid) “goes down the wrong pipe?”

No matter how long we live, we never figure out how to consistently drink without running into trouble. But I guess we shouldn’t give up trying, right?

Why do I bash my shoulder on a familiar door jamb?

Even if I’ve walked through it a million times, I can still experience heavy impact with it, especially in the middle of the night. Man, I hate when that happens.

How do you replace a shovel handle?

You can buy wooden poles at most hardware stores, but I’ll be danged if I know what to do with them, because the metallic business end of a shovel is mounted to the handle with a rivet. How is the average person supposed to deal with that? I must be missing something, because I just don’t get it. I’ve broken a few shovel handles in the past, and my solution has always been to buy a new shovel.

Why are restaurants kept so cold?

Sometimes it’s like entering a meat locker when you step through the entry door.

That seems so counterproductive, too, because studies have shown that people aren’t as prone to eating in cold temperatures. Not that it should be a sauna, either, but how about just right?

That should save money on the cooling bill, too.

My wife can vouch for the fact that I usually bring a coat or flannel shirt with me when we go out to eat, just in case.

How can gas prices change so often (and so significantly) without actual justification?

The latest hike even came with quotes from “experts” who said the reason why it was happening was hard to determine.

What other item, commodity or whatever that’s sold to Americans gets away with such nonsense? I think the answer lies in the fact that we’re all so dependent on gas and we have to buy it no matter what.

How does a dog know?

They know all kinds of stuff without any prompting, like when you open a container of treats, when it’s time to go “bye-bye,” when you want to sleep in and when a car has pulled into the driveway.

I think they know because they’re smarter than “science” has told us they are.

Why do I always get the bay leaf?

Well, maybe not always, but 99.9% of the time when my wife makes spaghetti or some other dish that contains a bay leaf, it will show up on my plate. Even if there are two, they’ll both come my way.

Now it’s too the point where I’m disappointed on the rare occasion that I don’t get the bay leaf. It’s like there’s been a disruption of the space-time continuum and it just feels all wrong.

Where does a dropped screw go?

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been working outside on some sort of project that involves screws and I’ve dropped one and never found it.

I’ll even get down on my hands and knees and part the grass or move the bark around where I’m absolutely sure it landed (and had to, for that matter), but come up empty.

It’s like it entered the screw vortex and is now deep inside Earth’s crust, or it fell into a screw wormhole and is now on the other side of the Milky Way Galaxy. What other explanation is there?

If the dang thing was there, I’d have found it, right?

Obviously, this barely scratches the surface of the zillions of mysteries that make up everyday life. But hopefully it gets the point across that there are many, many examples that we can all relate to.

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

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at

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