Imagine an empty room.
It is a smaller room, approximately eight feet by ten feet with the ceiling at an average height.
The walls and ceiling are perfectly white – so unblemished you can almost smell the paint in the air.
The floor is wall to wall linoleum in an equally pristine shade of white.
There are no windows, but the room is well-lit from the ceiling.
In the middle of the room, there is a small table. It too, is white.
On top of the table sit three items:
- A brand new loaf of store-bought sliced bread*.
- A half-empty jar of peanut butter
- A stainless steel butter knife.
*Ironically, the bread is whole grain wheat; not white. But that is irrelevant.
Nothing else is in the room.
I guarantee that if you placed me in this room and asked me to make a peanut butter sandwich I would not be able to locate the bag clip or twist-tie used to close the bread bag – especially it if said clip or tie was any color other than white.
*Random factoid: in many cases, the color of the bag tag or twist-tie relates to when the bread was packaged. This is Snopes verified, people.
After frantically searching the all white room for the blue twist-tie or sea-foam green bag clip*, I would give up and just spin the loaf real fast to close it.
Finally, after notifying the bag clip’s next of kin, I decide to move on and enjoy my sandwich. As I raise my PB-sans-J to my lips, I’ll spot the bag clip or tie right where I left it.
Exactly where I had looked 87 times in the last five minutes.
* * *
Author’s note: The title “Paxton’s Paradox” is an obscure reference to Mr. Floyd Paxton, owner of Kwik Lok Corporation – the company that makes the plastic bag clips.