Monday, October 27, 2014

How to lose things in reverse

Some things were meant to pair off together. Bread and butter. Knifes and forks. Pies and sauce. Tea cups and saucers. This is one category; another category is things that actually are pairs. Socks, arms, legs, hands, feet, eyes, nostrils, dual carriageways on roads, bicycles, and Twix chocolate bars, for instance.

Sometimes it is possible to lose one of a pair of things, thus making the whole lose its function: I'm thinking especially about socks, obviously, but (conceivably), the same could happen with some of the other items so-named: arms and legs (alarming), dual carriageways (how on earth....), wheels on bikes (any monocycle riders around?), and half of a Twix chocolate bar (though I'm happy to report this should never lessen the functionality of the remainder, unless Mars have a very strange manufacturing method).

I mention all this now because my friend EB, of Facebook-land, appears to have had a very strange turn of events. I quote:

Mystery: I now have three pieces of a single pair of socks. (???) 

There is visual evidence. A - pair(?) (what would you even call them now?) - of three identical-looking socks. As I noted at the time, EB appears to have gained a curious power: now, instead of losing one of a pair of socks (a trouble I am all too familiar with), she appears to have lost them - in reverse, gaining a pointless third sock. (Or is it pointless? Just how many legs....)

This is a valuable skill, and ought to be learnt by the rest of us. If I could only lose a couple of my best socks in reverse, I'd quickly gain a pair of three, four, five, six, seven socks. I'm tempted to go off and practice now, but then, I've been practicing losing socks all my life and up to the moment I haven't had much success at losing them in reverse.

But just imagine if you applied this skill of losing in reverse to other pairs. Arms and legs (I could do with three arms), dual carriageways (on roads what direction would they be driving on the third carriageway?), bicycles (thereby upgrading them to - ehrm - tricycles....) and Twix chocolate bars (thereby gaining three bits of chocolate for the price of two - sweet!) And, come to think of it, the town of Wagga Wagga could be upgraded to Wagga Wagga Wagga at no extra cost.

And - what's more - could this skill of losing in reverse also be applied to things that are just paired off, rather than just pairs? If I was drinking tea with a tea cup and saucer, and lost the saucers, could I get two saucers back? Or would I have to lose both the tea cup and saucer before getting both back, redoubled? Would it even be possible to lose things deliberately anyway, or is it rather like learning to fly in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the secret is throwing yourself at the ground and missing). How exactly does this losing things in reverse work?

I think I'm off to practice now....

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