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Thursday, 23 May 2013


By Mickey Rogers of This, That and the Other

The late, great Erma Bombeck was correct: socks are mysterious creatures. No matter what precautions are taken, once in the washer some of them inexplicitly disappear.

Once I even bought a set of socks that had little snaps at the top so that the mates could be attached before they were dumped into the washing machine but somehow, someway, some of them vanished.

Then I began putting them into little sacks that had small holes for letting in the water and suds but somehow a few of them still escaped.

Perhaps I should throw away the socks which no longer have mates but I’m just too sentimental (and cheap). Therefore, I have a large drawer in which these mateless articles of clothing are tossed. There must be more than 50 socks in that drawer and no two of them match.

It’s a shame for all those otherwise perfectly good socks to lie in that drawer without a reason to exist, so I’ve put them back on active duty.

Whenever there is dirty work to do around the house or property, such as painting, mowing or coating the driveway, I randomly grab two socks from that drawer and put them on. One may be blue and the other one red but who cares? My work clothes are covered with grass stains, paint drops and a few spots of tar, so no one notices the conflicting bits of material that I’m wearing around my ankles.

Socks are ornery critters. Perhaps by nature they are just unfaithful to their mates; I know for a fact that they love nothing more than to be wrapped together with slightly different colored socks. They find it especially easy to pull this stunt when one tries to match them up in the semi-darkness.

The big laugh then comes at the wearer’s expense. While getting ready for work, you make certain that the pants match the shirt and you follow your mom’s long-ago given advice to wear clean underwear just in case you end up in the hospital that day. But who takes the time to give close scrutiny to the socks?

Only upon arriving at work does one notice that one sock is brown and the other one is black. Let me tell you - it’s a long day indeed when you must hide behind the desk and wear your pants lower than usual in an attempt to conceal your folly from fellow workers.

My wife Bev refuses to help injured socks. Once, I asked her to darn a beautiful dark blue one, which was one of my favorites.

“Okay. Darn you, sock!” she exclaimed, just before tossing it into the trash can.

The greatest revenge a sock can exact upon me is by developing a hole big enough and at just the right spot for my big toe to slide through. I can handle a hole in the heel and I can even tolerate a smaller toe protruding, but the word is out in the sock world that the best way to drive me insane is by exposing my big toe.

I’d rather face water torture! Once, when this happened I attempted to fix the problem by stapling the hole, but the staple was uncomfortable. By the end of the day it had created a little blister on the bottom of my toe.

Tape only works until your feet sweat, so unless you work in a meat locker, I wouldn’t advise you to do it.

Sometimes socks get even by sliding down your legs. It’s a little tougher for socks to pull this stunt against men since the hair on our legs puts up some resistance.

When they are together, the mates do use teamwork. Usually just one sock will slide down your leg while the other one, using contrast in order to make the problem easier to spot, will remain where it is supposed to be.

There’s no question about it-socks are devious and what makes them dangerous foes is their high intelligence. Evidently I do something that ticks off some of Bev’s socks for occasionally they get their revenge by finding their way into my drawer. Then, absentmindedly, I put a pair of them on and go out the door to face another day.

If my wife notices, I’m in big trouble: “I’ve told you a million times not to wear my socks.” she would say in no uncertain terms. “Your big feet stretch them.”

“But dear,” I reply, “How was I to know? They were in my sock drawer!”

“You’re not blind, dear,” would be her rejoinder. “You don’t normally wear socks that are decorated with little monkey faces on them.”

I swear I could hear faint laughter coming from inside my shoes.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Excellent piece of whimsy, especially since 98 percent of it is true. The sock police are NEVER around when you really need them!

I buy several pairs of the same sock and that helps!

There was a time (not too long ago)when you could buy a pair of socks that were mismatched in color. So if you have one of those days, you could just call it fashion. :)

Funny post! Thanks for sharing, I love your approach.

You really socked it to us!!

Mickey, you made me smile this morning! There is a company that sells three socks to people like you and me.

Please note that the "young" (anyone without white hair) are wearing unmatched socks as a fashion statement. My 40 something friend who teaches exercise classes wears one bright orange sock and the other is hot pink; while my 6 year old neighbor wears one pink and one purple sock. You are just ahead of the fashion curve.

It's so true. My husband has these plastic clips that are supposed to keep his socks together in the wash. But as you say, the socks often mange to go their separate ways, leaving various clips on the bottom of the washing machine.

In terms of matching colors, years ago when I worked in an office I'd grab pantyhose from my drawer, put them on, grab some shoes, and head out to work. Then too late, I'd be horrified to see that I'd put on navy pantyhose and black shoes--or the reverse. I finally had to start writing Navy or Black on the inside tags. I wonder whether any of the men at work even noticed.

cool story - universal appeal

Many decades ago, on a dark winter's morning, I was dressing in the dark and put on one brown shoe and one black--same style. I was so mortified, I had to walk (run) home from school to change, at lunchtime.
And why is it always your favorite socks that lose their mates?

Really funny. I still darn a sock occasionally but it's a
pain in another anatomical spot.

If you know anyone who teaches, you could ask them if the art teacher at their school might like your strays to make sock puppets.

Okay, so this might come as a big surprise, but the fashion these days is to wear socks that don't match! A practical solution to a problem that plagues all of us.

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