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Dear Mr. Matt:

Is there really a black hole that rebellious socks escape to when you're not looking? Is there someplace in this world where an enormous pile of lost $20 bills collects to discuss the benefits of freedom? Where exactly do all our lost items go? Do I alone have invisible holes in my pockets?

-- B.R.., San Diego

So, B.R., that $20 bill problem sounds serious. I'll send one of the elves to follow you around for a week or two to pick up-- well, let's say, to pick up some clues. As for that less interesting sock dilemma, single socks go to the same place that single shoes go to after you see them by the side of the road. But since nobody would want to go to any place filled with other people's old socks and shoes, we won't worry about where that is. According to the most up-to-date charts, though, it is a place not too far from where teenagers' minds go while their parents are yelling at them.

Hey, so back to this missing moolah thing for a minute. In the interest of science, could you maybe start carrying around 50s and C notes for the next week or two? The elves can make more progress if you'll misplace larger denominations. Trust me.

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