Only In America . . . TM

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.


Researchers at a midwestern university have found proof that coat hangers, when left alone in the dark, actually do reproduce.

"People have suspected for years that the number of coat hangers grows continually without explanation," Sid Thornley told an overflow audience at the annual Researcher's Ball held in New York last night. "And everybody has assumed that this was just a figment of their imagination. But we now have incontrovertible proof that hangers are NOT manufactured, but are a natural phenomenon--and we also have scientific proof that the hangers breed naturally."

It seems that Thornley's research group--under the aegis of a $600,000 government grant--has spent the better part of the last two years researching the sex life of coat hangers.

"We felt that the scientific method needed to be brought to bear on this problem, which has become one of the most mysterious phenomena in America today," he told the audience. "So we set up an experiment and kept accurate notes of everything that happened."

What they set up a was small closet with a light-tight door and a single clothes rod with exactly 100 coat hangers on it. Then they assigned three teams to watch the closet around the clock.

Nothing happened for three months. Then one day when they opened the closet and counted the hangers there were 114 of them! This made them suspicious, so they installed an infrared video camera inside the closet in order to see what was going on while the door was closed.

What was going on was that the hangers were laying hundreds of microscopic eggs on the bottom of the rod and then just waiting for someone to open the door and fertilize them with light. Once fertilized, the eggs would grow into adult coat hangers in the space of four to six hours.

"What happens," Thornley explained, "is that the unsuspecting person puts a bunch of coat hangers in a closet and closes them up in the dark. Ninety days later they lay eggs. Then, when you open the closet to get your coat, the eggs are fertilized and immediately begin to grow. What was once invisible will turn into a tangle of new hangers virtually overnight--leaving you to wonder where all the coat hangers came from."

Asked if there was anything a person could do to prevent the hangers from multiplying, Thornley said, "No, their eggs are microscopic and are absorbed by the hanger rod in minutes. The result is that you can neither see the eggs nor wipe them off. You get more and more hangers whether you want them or not."

"What's really worrying us now," he said, "is that the hanger population will continue to grow until they are totally out of control. So our research team is concentrating on genetically altering hangers to make them sterile. Then we will put the sterile hangers into closets everywhere to mate with existing hangers until all of the fertile ones die out."

"Once we get this problem under control," Thornley said, "we're going to see what we can do about the dust balls that grow under everyone's bed."

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.