Cords. Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.” –Two-Bit Guru

Everyone knows you can put a pile of cords in a box and when you try to take the cords out of the box they are all jumbled up (although not hopelessly so unless you’re overly melodramatic). Nobody seems to know why cords get tangled. I’m talking all kinds of cords, electrical, computer cables, string, twine. This is a philosophical question that hasn’t gotten much attention, until now.

These tangled cords could be taken to support Murphy’s Law, or Chaos Theory, or Dr. Frankenstein, which could be disappointing to a person seeking the sunny side of life.

Tangling is one thing but outright danger is something else. A frayed electrical cord can burn down the house, or electrocute the homeowner, or renter, or a visiting alien. Electricity isn’t concerned with who. The only words in electricity’s dictionary are Zap! and Pfffzzzt.

Before some errant politician steps up and proclaims We Must Outlaw Cords, I hasten to say that we need them, cords. The jury is still out on politicians. Without cords we got no power for the lights, the vacuum cleaner, the TV, the furnace blower, the buzz saw, and the space heater. We need cords to run our desktop computers, too, and there you find the most Satanic of all tangled cord messes on the planet.

We strive for cordless and have succeeded with phones, headsets, and wireless computer networks, but the appliance that separates us from the monkeys, the fridge, still demands a cord to keep it running.

We might as well choose to look on the sunny side. The only time we really have to deal with a tangled mess of cords is when we have to untangle them. If it was presented to us as a game we would probably jump at the challenge. This winter I spent hours quietly, peacefully, happily, untangling a jumble of builders string. It’s all in how you look at it.