Allen Norwood

Theory of (drop cord) entanglement

With the new year comes new understanding. It’s not just random bad luck that causes drop cords and garden hoses to drive us to distraction when we’re working in the yard. It’s a carefully considered scientific construct called the “Theory of Entanglement.”

The theory states that anytime a hose, extension cord or piece of rope is extended in any fashion in the yard, it always tangles with either the bushes, itself, the flowers or another cord.

It comes from Dave Verrill, a kinesiologist at UNCC. His name is followed by umpteen academic initials, so we know his logic is unimpeachable.

Verrill was among a double handful of readers I heard from after a column in early November about the love-hate relationships we have with tools.

“The same day I read your article,” he wrote in an email, “I was trimming the bushes with the electric trimmer and I partially severed the cord, as I have done at least five times before. Even when I try very hard not to. I saw sparks, but the cord is still usable (unless I electrocute myself).”

Also, he said, the cord got snagged in the crepe myrtle and then crushed the mums – as it always does.

That prompted him to share his “Theory of Entanglement” with the rest of us.

Scientific theories, of course, can be tested and proven. You can prove this one today. If you don’t believe Verrill’s theory, unfurl your drop cord, pull the hedge trimmer down off the hook, and go prune a holly. You will come to believe.

Verrill said a mattock is about his favorite tool. He uses it for lots of chores. His yard is so hard and rocky, he said, that when he needs to dig a hole with the posthole digger, he starts with the mattock.

A South Carolina man emailed to say anyone who doesn’t admire a posthole digger is a wuss. He enclosed a picture of his father, at the age of 88, manning a posthole digger.

Also, I noticed that the fellow who sent the email didn’t enclose a picture of himself standing over a posthole digger.

It’s not black magic, according to Verrill’s theory, but science.

“Also,” Verrill wrote, “if there is a car in the driveway, the car’s tires always sit directly on the cord.

“Finally, the electric plug pulls out of the blower or trimmer constantly, even with the cord secured in the thingy.”

I think those final two points are corollaries to the “Theory of Entanglement.” They’re easy to prove, too.