By Capt. Wayne Canning

                The theory of wave-particle duality in Quantum Mechanics as I understand it (and trust me I do not  understand it at all) is that sub atomic particles can be in all places at once at least until observed. Once observed they can only be in one place. There is also a theory that states particles may exist in the future and travel backwards in time to react to the present. While pondering these mind numbing thoughts it suddenly occurred to me I have experienced these strange phenomimum many times myself. As a matter of fact so have most boat owners.
                Of course few boaters would think of themselves as theoretical Quantum Physicists (except for that guy down the dock who thinks he knows everything, you who I am talking about!)  We endeavor to prove these very theories true every time we need a part for our boats. Yeah I know what you are thinking, “this guy has been huffing way too many polyester fumes and has lost his grip on reality!” (It’s my reality thank you very much and I am sticking with it!) Yes I will admit maybe I should have worn a respirator a bit more often than I have, but hear me out and I am sure you will agree.
                We all know that when you need a part for your boat you go down to your local marine supply store and ask the friendly clerk for the part in question.  To which he cheerfully replies he does not have said part, but he would be happy to order one for you, it could be hereby next Thursday. The degree of probability that he (or any other store within a 600 mile radius for that matter) will have your needed part is based on the degree of how badly you need the part. Now I have not worked out an exact formula for this ratio yet (Mainly because, frankly that is just way too much work) but you can be assured it is a constant we all have experienced.              
                Say for example you would like to add a new nofer trunnion to your panendermic rig, you don’t really need to do this but hey, the guy 3 slips down did and it seems pretty cool. You know not every store carries nofer trunnions because let’s face it, they are not very common, but you figure what the heck. You go down to the first store you come across, Bob’s Boat Parts and Burritos. You figure, what the hell if they do not have a nofer trunnion you can always get a breakfast burrito.  You march up to the counter knowing in your heart there is not a hope in hell Bob will have the needed norfer trunnion. Much to your surprise Bob has just gotten a new shipment in and they are on sale no less! So with a shiny new nofer trunnion in one hand a steaming breakfast Burrito in the other you head back to your boat, life is good.
                Now suppose instead there is a steady stream of water pouring into your boat thru the exhaust girdleshoe on your engine. It is not so bad that the bilge pump cannot keep up with it but it is enough to make you uncomfortable.  The need is fairly high. You get into your car this time driving past Bob’s Boat Parts and Burritos (No time for a burrito today, you are on a mission!) up the road to the big chain store, after all they are sure to have a girdleshoe, those things are on every boat. You hurriedly walk into the store and up to the aisle were just last week you saw at least ten on the shelf. You heart sinks and your mouth hangs open in disbelieve, the shelf were the girdelshoes live is empty other than dust and something that looks like it could have been alive at one time.  You go to the counter and ask the smiling clerk if, maybe, they might have some girdleshoes in the back somewhere? The overly cheerful reply you get is that they are fresh out of girdleshoes but they can have one here by next Thursday! That is if they are not backordered.  You calmly explain your dire need to the clerk and after what seems like 40 minutes of nonstop typing into the register keyboard he looks up with a sigh and informs you there is not a girdleshoe to be had for 600 miles.  How can this be? Just last week you saw at least ten in the bin right over there! The clerk just shrugs his shoulders and gives you a look of pity without empathy. (A carefully crafted look I have seen way too many times I might add)
                This is a classic example of wave-particle duality theory in practice. My thinking is all boat parts exist in a cloud of parts that travel around the world.  They are everywhere at once until you have a need for them. The need being the equivalent of the observation of the particle. Once seen a particle is only in one place, and once needed a boat part is only in one place. The problem is that, that one place will never be closer than 600 miles to you. This is where the time travel bit comes into play. You see the part is really in the future and sees or senses your need and places itself somewhere outside of the 600 mile radius at the very moment your need arises.
                Ok I see that look on your face; you think I have lost it, let me explain further. The part cloud is illustrated by the number of UPS and FedX airplanes and trucks on the move at any given moment.  They are all carrying boat parts all around the world. Imagine that as a cloud of boat parts, all in constant motion all around the world, always moving closer to you and further away from you at the same time. Sort of like bees swarming around you. A Big Bang of boat parts so to speak. (Yeah, it’s beginning to make sense now isn’t it? And you thought my reality was weird!) Now if these parts exist in the future as well as the present they will know your need and its degree of urgency, even before you do. This explains why when you really need a girdleshoe; all the girdleshoes that are available are already someplace else! Now I am not suggesting boat parts think like we do (That would be really nuts, not like any of the rest of this) but the parts do sense a need and react to that just like sub atomic particles react to being observed.
                I know you think this is all a bit farfetched, “man this guy is nuts” you are saying to yourself. But you tell me why it is that every time you need a boat part it is almost always someplace else. This even applies to parts you own. Suppose you have a spare helical spruvion gear packed away neatly in your spares kit, when your main helical spurvion gear lets go and you go to look in your spares kit only to find it is gone. Just vanished! You KNOW it was there 2 months ago when you were in the spares kit looking for that spare diathetical evolute (Which also, by the way, was not where you left it!) Then as soon as the replacement helical spruvion gear you ordered arrives (that would make it next Thursday) the helical spruvion gear that you KNEW you had suddenly reappears right in the spares kit where you knew damn well it was! It has to be directly related to quantum physics there simply is no other explanation.
                I suppose if I ever get around to writing that thesis on the relation of boat parts to wave-particle duality it is not likely to win me the Noble peace prize for science or anything. But I do think this could be of importance to most boaters in helping them understand that there is simply no hope when it comes to getting your boat parts. It is just a matter of physics and beyond our control.  Of course next time I am down at Bob’s Boat Parts, and Burritos, I will be checking if the guy at the counter has at least a Masters in Quantum Physics.


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