It came from inner space

Astronomers have been studying, and trying to understand black holes in the universe for some time. Well, look no further. I've found proof that they do exist right here in Seattle. It's better known as my wife's walk-in closet.

This is a room I have studiously avoided. I've glanced in there in passing - when the door was open - and the array of colors alone was frightening, not to mention the mounds of clothes under which, one could only imagine, demonic creatures must be living.

At other times I would hear my wife, Gale, thrashing around in the closet with the door closed, muffled curses leaking through the hollow-core sliding door, and periodic thuds against the wall as she fought off the aliens therein - or maybe she was tossing some shoes aside in search of just the right outfit for our evening out. When she emerged flush-faced, with droplets of perspiration on her forehead, I would tactfully repair to another room.

But all good things must come to an end. To make a long story a little longer, my wife fell and broke her leg in several places a few weeks ago. The doctors told her she could put no weight on that leg for two months. So we have her set up in the bedroom with the TV, the DVD player, her laptop, our old, overweight cat and me, when I'm not bringing up food or taking down empty dishes.

During one of her expeditions into the black hole before she was injured, she had culled some clothes that were bagged and destined for charity. On returning from the hospital, I mentioned (will I never learn to keep my mouth shut?) that we should gather the warmest of these castoffs and offer them to a very nice gentleman in Kent who is sending relief supplies to the folks devastated by the earthquake in Pakistan. She thought that was a fine idea, but ... oh, those dreaded buts, there was more in the closet that could be added to the donation.

I felt a cold chill inch up my spine. My palms began to sweat, and my heart rate quickened. I knew she couldn't face the black hole on one leg. That left only one person to go where no man has gone. I took up my machete and side arm, and carefully approached the door, listening outside for any movement within before opening the door.

Gale directed me, from the bed, through the maze of piles in the closet, telling me to bring them to her on the bed where she would sort through them, deciding which items might be appropriate for donation, and which she wanted to keep.

Before long, what I had assumed would amount to pulling a few jackets and sweatshirts from the closet turned into a full, frontal assault on the mountain of fabric therein. I felt like a haberdasher as I stumbled from the closet to the bed, bent backward under the weight of the pile I was delivering.

Several hours, and some badly strained lumbar vertebrae later, we had sorted through what was on the floor (at least the equivalent of two floors at Nordstrom), reorganized hangers of skirts and slacks, and filled several plastic yard bags with discards, some slated for Pakistan and some for other charities. I think that when I fell facedown in one pile, gasping for air, Gale took pity on me, and we were done for the day.

Obviously, I feel good about any help we can give the victims of the earthquake, and hope that something we've donated will save someone from freezing to death this winter. But I have nailed shut the door to that closet, and any time my wife begins to talk about what else needs to be gone through in there, I grab the vacuum cleaner, or any other household utensil, declaring there is something else more pressing at the moment. Who could have guessed I'd find vacuuming such a pleasure? We might even get the refrigerator cleaned out.

The black hole, with its collection of clothes, shoes, handbags, coats and hats, is beyond the comprehension of any living man. I know that we men tend to wear our favorite whatever until it makes our spouses, and probably others, want to gag, but why anyone needs enough changes of clothing to see them through the next millennium should be the next great scientific undertaking, now that we have proved black holes do exist.

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