Lost Screws

In my garage shop, any dropped fastener that is too small to be arguably classified as a “bolt” has as little chance of being found, no matter the effort, as it would be if I had fired it out of a wrist rocket from a high-altitude Huey, in the dead of night, into the tropical rainforest somewhere between Rio de Janeiro and Santiago, and started my search “somewhere in the middle.” In fact, my research into the matter leads me to believe, with reasonable confidence, that dropped fasteners in fact alert a galactic agency that, in the blink of an eye (and before my brain even processes that I’ve dropped the part and realizes that I am, to put it delicately, “fucked”) senses the drop and beams the fastener into wide orbit around Pluto, even before it hits the floor. Sometimes they add the sound of a skittering screw for the amusement of staff, or omit the sound of a skittering screw, also for the amusement of staff.

Fun fact: The New Horizons probe, during its approach of Pluto, in 2014, was narrowly grazed by a speeding sear screw out of a 1941 Smith & Wesson, beamed there in 1982 after a homeowner near Des Moines accidentally flung the spring-loaded thing across his garage that November (hilariously, he searched for it for three hours, becoming progressively more irate and inebriated, until he gave up and airmailed the Wesson frame through his Pontiac’s rolled-up passenger window and onto a lap belt on his bench seat). The New Horizons probe, narrowly unharmed, famously photographed Pluto but nearly became tumbling space garbage had it encountered the sear screw, which it hit at over 60,000 miles per hour, at a different angle. The sear screw, meanwhile, was deflected and was sent tumbling directly for Alpha Centauri, instantly becoming the fastest-moving man made object ever, and also, and in a few centuries, it will become the first Earth-based object to arrive in a another solar system (uncredited, of course).

posted by Mike A.