Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A challenge to write 1000 words about socks: Go!

Is it possible to write a thousand words about these knitted, stretchy little items of clothing? I am going to try to fulfill a writing challenge and see if I can do it.  
What can I say about these helpful, keep-your-toes-warm on a cold morning, beauties? Probably in the caveman days people had hairier feet. I suppose the early days of socks involved some kind of animal skin wrapped with strips of more animal skin.  Someone figured out weaving at some point and decided to make something useful for the feet.  What a great day that was... Although I know some people who don’t like them and don’t own any.  They wear Birkenstocks year round. I know  one person who actually never wears shoes.   I can imagine explaining that to the bride’s family... “Well, he doesn’t actually own ANY shoes...”  So, get married on the beach--what’s the problem?  I wonder if going shoeless makes it easier or more difficult getting through an airport... It’s nice not to have to mess with the on/off business but you might get pulled aside for seeming so weird.
Going sockless
I think from a laundry perspective and as a parent of children with closebutnotexactlythesame sized feet, going sockless would make the laundry process quicker and easier.  I always save the “dregs” or socks for last. With every batch of laundry I do, I have lone soldiers.  How does it happen every single time?  I have an ever growing bag of unmatched socks.  About once a month I dump it all out and see if any matches can be made.  
Ode to the Lost ones
Have fun on your hayride, your waltz to Neverland. Don’t mind me. I am just the putz whose job it is to figure out what to do with what is left of your mate.  You go on your cruise to the tropics on that wave of  laundry rinse cycle water. I didn’t really like you anyway. Okay, I really did.  I hate to see couples separate. It is always a sad story and the children pay for it all with their chilly toes and their crying out in the dark morning “MOM, I can’t find a pair of socks!” Oh whoa is me...  All the ones that are solitary and left behind begin to collect...all piled up with other misfits in the bottom of an old Walmart bag. How humiliating. I may never see you again. Or you may pop out of the corner of a folded sheet or show up in an old unpacked moving box.  If I matched all of you with the extra buttons sitting in envelops inside the drawers and suitcases and bathroom cabinets, I could make enough sock puppets to outfit the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  But they don’t want them.  Nobody really wants or needs a bag full of unmatched socks.  Maybe, if you only had one foot for some reason, but this would be a rare thing to find someone that had such a need, and if I knew of such a person they would deserve NEW SOCKS and not some wretched batch of leftovers from an unorganized laundress from North Carolina.  
So again to the ones that got away...  Are you padding a nest of a nocturnal creature?  I am sure stranger things have been found in a squirrels nest.  In the gutter of some roadway far away as the torrents of rain carried you out of the yard and into the beyond? Shoved between mattresses during a hurried “clean up your room” session? 
Thrown to the very bowels of the back of the closets where no one wants to look or go?
Pulled off while in the grocery store and tossed to the frozen orange juice section? In the car, in someone else’s car? At a friend’s house? Might be time to report you to the Bureau of Missing Socks.  There was supposedly a real outfit in the Civil War that issued socks to soldiers but they needed to save money and made the men turn in an old sock to get a new/repaired one.. I am not sure you can believe everything you read on the Internet.
If you have a dog of any reasonable size, he or she could take a toll on the sock population in a household.  I have been told that some big dogs eat socks, not good Rover...I think this can be fatal.
Once upon a time a fearless knight appeared when my washer started emitting a foul odor and he took the opportunity to completely dissect the machine in front of my innocent but curious eyes.  I just knew that when that wash basin was removed that all of the mysteries of the universe (or at least one) would be resolved and I could reunite the lost ones with their bored and waiting partners back in the Walmart bag..  I waited for what seemed like millennium as the handy person meticulously chose tools and took apart the big white beast that had churned out seventeen years worth of wash loads.  Surely the thing was completely clogged with tons of missing socks and that was causing the problem. It was like being in a operating room but with mechanical parts and implements. As the inside guts were revealed..... deep breath........ NO SOCKS! Not one single, stinking, sour, stupid sock.  Nothing was lodged anywhere, it was free of debris.  Did I feel relief? Sadness? Disappointment. The man told me, after he put all the parts back together and shoved the thing back into place,  ‘You need to get some lemon powdery DISHwashing soap (Sunlight or whatever brand you can find) and run that through the machine a few times.’  It gets some yucky build-up out of somewhere and makes the machine smell better. That glimpse into my machine and the advice cost a dandy $125.00.   He also told me something else I will share with you: if you want to freshen up your dishwasher and clean up the gunk in its innards you need to use TANG drink mix (do they even make the stuff anymore??). So there. Spread this advice around for me. It will make me feel better.  
I digress...one thousand words about socks.  My best advice has to do with prevention. If you buy each family member uniquely different socks (brand, color or just mark their initials with permanent ink) and FORCE them to stuff all their dirty socks into their own separate mesh bags that hang on the doorknob of their rooms or bathroom. You might not spend as much time searching for the lost ones, sorting the ones you CAN find and getting them back onto your family’s feet.
I did it! My counter just went over 1100 words! Good night!  


  1. Congratulations! My favorite thing to do with lone socks: fill them with raw rice, tie off the tops, heat in the microwave for 90 seconds and use to keep lonesome tootsies warm at the bottom of the bed as the temperatures drop.

  2. Yay! That was fantastic! And my boys socks are almost, but not quite, the same size, too. I definitely save socks for last, and I have handed that job over to those same boys. It works out because if they don't match and put the socks away, they don't have any to wear! (Insert evil laugh.)