or “I never had time in the past, but now I can waste my time anticipating a discovery.”
Jerry Seinfeld and other comedians have made careers of analyzing the mundane. Were does that sock that abandoned its mate go? Did it make a break for it during the spin cycle? Did it hide in the ceiling of the dryer drum, using it saved up static electricity to cling to the drum wall in the hopes that the cycle would end with it clinging to the ceiling, holding its solitary breath instead of being in that bundle of wretched laundry at the bottom of the drum? His buddies doomed to be shoveled out into the laundry basket, sorted, fluffed, folded, and stored in some drawer until another fateful day when it would be pulled out and… ugh! Worn. Sure that was the fate of all laundry, to be worn, or worse yet, used to dust, clean or dry.
But a sock has some of the most arduous duty. To be worn all day, draping an odorous and sweaty foot. Constantly pounded with every step. Partially encased in a shoe that was barely less smelly than the foot they both encase. Is there any wonder that socks routinely come up missing.
But the life of a sock does not explain the disappearance. Why doesn’t a ‘pair’ ever come up missing? The sock, the most populated wardrobe group, would seem less adept at striking out on its own. Not just because of its social network, but also because it, with the exception of gloves, is the only monogamous item of clothing. It’s easy to see why gloves are content with their place in the wardrobe world, with their passive nature and only seasonal duties, they live the ‘life of Riley’ for most of their existence.
Shirts, pants, and ties are consistently paired with each other with an ensemble, but never a tie with a tie, pants with pants, etc. Those pairings were based on the politically incorrect basis of color and style, but are often enough mismatched to the point that they would seem more prone to venturing out. Perhaps the ‘ensemble pairings attitude towards socks can explain the ‘exodus of the socks’ phenomenon. While the ensembles look upon the shoes and socks as no better than making a good look not look bad, they are especially harsh towards the socks for their potential to destroy a good look. Ties are particularly snobbish towards socks (silk versus cotton bigotry) and can even be very ‘snooty’ towards each other while getting along ‘maaavelously’* with pants and shirts. *(see Ricardo Montalban)
If its because they draw such punishing duty then why doesn’t underwear or even jockstraps make a break for freedom? Surely their job is even more disgusting. The jockstrap, the least social item of clothing, would be more adept at striking out on its own as befits its ‘lone wolf’ existence. Underwear? Its a wonder there isn’t a mass movement by other items in the dryer to throw them out forcibly.
The great sock mystery, however, no longer intrigues me. At my age, I’ve moved on, accepted it, and even expect it. The only thought I give to it now is to never throw away a solitary sock. I now keep them in the bottom of the sock drawer in the expectation that another sock, similarly sized, colored and sufficiently maintained will be abandoned so as to accommodate a coupling. While socks supposedly mate for life, let’s admit that is always a myth. Be for real.
Is it possible that I adopted this policy because subconsciously I have hope that a missing sock may return? Maybe, but I do not mourn the absence of a solitary sock. Just like the fear of losing a tooth doesn’t decide the fate of my teeth, even though it may prove once and for all, that the tooth fairy doesn’t exist, I will face the disappearance of a sock the same way I’ll face the truth about the tooth fairy when it comes, Kay Sara, Kay Sara. (see Doris Day)
I‘m getting older and that means that footwear casualties and tooth fatalities will happen. I live with it.
What does intrigue me, befuddles me, and in the words of Khan* ‘task me’, is the question of what is up with my CDs and DVDs? *(see Star Trek)
It defies logic. Not just where are they going, but the fact that a case is just as likely to go missing as a disc. A secondary concern might be not knowing if the rate of disappearance is undetermined because I only notice a disappearance when I go looking for a particular title. It’s understandable that I might have put 2 disks in the wrong cases but too often when I go to find the case matching the wrongly placed disk either the case is empty or it, along with the mismatched disc, are both missing.
Yes, it is possible that I lost or misplaced the matching disk and case, but what are the odds of me repeatedly, almost systematically, losing matching ‘mismatched’ combinations? My library should be depleted by now if this was the case. Once I caught myself about to dispose of a DVD player with a DVD still in it, but I do not replace players that often, and even in this event I could not find the DVDs case. Yes, I occasionally might loan a disk to someone, but for this to account for the attrition rate the borrowers would have to be guilty of never returning a disk. Mmmmmm?
Yes, this is what intrigues me, not smelly socks. This is a fresh mystery, technologically based, costly and new. This is what retirement is about. That and living in poverty and loving it.
updated from 2015
Also from Glenn: