Camera zooms in on a blue Ford Explorer cruising down the highway on a calm day with blue skies, green pastures and McDonalds at every mile.
Camera angle switches to an interior view of a driver enjoying music on the radio, rapping his fingers on the steering more or less in time with the music, singing embarrassingly loudly more or less in tune with the music.
Voice over narrative by Rod Serling: This is Bill. Returning home from an ordinary weekend get-away that included some camping, a fire on the beach, hot dogs, potato salad and the other little diversions that comprise recreation in the Twenty-first Century. Bill is heading home. He has a full tank of gas, he knows the way and he’s looking forward to that hot shower that awaits him at the termination of his journey. What Bill doesn’t realize is that his next stop won’t be home. Not on this highway. This highway leads to another dimension of sight and sound. On this highway Bill’s next stop will be…The Twilight Zone.
Dum dum dummmmmmmmm…diddily dump de dump. (Bongo music)
When I was a kid I watched The Twilight Zone every Friday night and it used to creep me out.
I watched it, anyway.
Like a moth to a flame I was drawn to tales of the weird and weird tales. Twists of fate, the unexpected turn of events, the shock, the horror, the anticipation that something strange was going to happen.
In retrospect, Twilight Zone was never about horror. The monsters were in our own minds, not on the screen. We anticipated the worst. We anticipated something shocking. It was psychological. The stories were all fake. This stuff didn’t really happen.
Or did it?
In the Twilight Zone episode 91, “Little Girl Lost” (March 16, 1962) (Thank you, Google!) a little girl disappears through the wall under her bed into the Fourth Dimension. She’s there one minute and gone the next. Through the wall into a rift opened up into the Fourth Dimension.
I’m convinced that’s where single socks go.
I’m also convinced that a rift into the Forth Dimension swallowed a chestnut many years ago and a cell phone antenna today.
Years ago, as a college student, I was sorting chestnuts to roast. I was looking for chestnuts that were rotten or full of mold. At one point I dropped a chestnut and it rolled “somewhere.” Now, “somewhere” wasn’t a Great Where because I was in a dorm room, a concrete cube 10 by 10 by 10 with a single door. I heard the chestnut hit the floor, roll for a while, then…nothing.
I figured the chestnut rolled under the bed I was sitting near. Nope. We searched the room for a while and never found the nut. Eventually, we were distracted by beer and forgot about the disappearing chestnut.
A few weeks later, however, was the end of term and as we cleaned out the dorm room I was reminded of the Lost Chestnut and kept a sharp eye out for it. We all did. Finally, the dorm cell was totally empty of everything: beds, desks, chairs, carpets, kegs and the pesky nuclear reactor that we could never get going above 25%.
It simply wasn’t there. It’s like it bounced twice, rolled a bit, and disappeared into the Fourth Dimension.
Today I was unpacking the blue Ford Explorer from a weekend of camping, fires on the beach, hot dogs, potato salad and a generally great time. I used my cell phone several times during the journey from the Wilderness to Civilization, so I know the cell phone sported its little nubby antenna.
I returned home to my house, apparently my house, not the Fourth Dimensional house, enjoyed a hot shower and prepared a nice lunch. Then I went out to put the camping stuff away.
That’s when I whacked my cell phone. It was a little whack. Just getting too close to the car or the wall or what I was carrying or whatever. I felt a whack where my cell phone lives on my hip.
Shortly later, like a minute, I noticed that my cell phone antenna, that little stubby thing that sticks up on a Motorola cell phone, was gone.
Gone. Missing. Absent. Detached.
I looked around and found nothing that resembled the grey, rubber antenna. I searched under the car, around the carport and in the flower bed.
“It has to be in this general area,” I thought.
But it wasn’t. I searched for an hour. Under the car. I moved the car. Under the Explorer. I moved the Explorer. In the grass. In the flowers. I looked in my pockets. Under my belt. In the cell phone holster. I expanded the search to the kitchen, bathroom and pool.
Finally, I gave up. It’s gone. Disappeared. In the Fourth Dimension. It was getting late and I had used up two sets of AA batteries searching the carport and flower beds.
Finally, I decided that this (and other) problem was best resolved by a good night’s sleep. As I drifted into the Land of Nod I distinctly heard the Antenna and the Chestnut.
“Yo, Antenna, Wazzzzzup?” Chestnut said enthusiastically.
“Not much, Chestmeister, just got here,” replied Antenna, “what’s with all the socks?”
Meanwhile back in the Third Dimension the following conversation is occurring.
“Is that a coat hanger sticking up out of your cell phone?”
“Yeah, it’s all the rage. I’m surprised you don’t have one.”
Exit one Bill. Denier of Reality. He lost a chestnut and a cell phone antenna into the Fourth Dimension. Bill denies this and continues to pretend that the chestnut and antenna went “somewhere.”
To Bill, they went “somewhere” but we know that Somewhere is signposted: The Twilight Zone.