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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sock Theory

I live in a house full of females—except for our dog (and you can’t count him…he's 100% dog but slightly less than 100% male). Because I'm the only man in the house, you would think that I could keep a reliable inventory of men's dress socks. But no matter how many I buy, I can never lay my hands on more than two or three pair of “new socks” in my sock drawer. My daughters sort the laundry while watching TV and then they take up the piles to the appropriate person’s drawer.

I appreciate the service, but over the years, my sock drawer has become a hangout for no-match socks, perfectly good socks with just enough of a pattern in them to set them apart from any other single sock in the drawer. It’s cruel really.

There ought to be an e-harmony dot com website where men post sock profiles of all their no-match socks, a place where perfect strangers compare sock pictures, pairing them up as best they can and bartering deals on-line. I don’t suppose it would be worth the time or postage. And then there’s that whole “wearing someone else’s sock” thing. I think in a pinch, I’d rather wear two socks that don’t match from my own drawer than a good match involving a sock from a strange foot. So much for that idea.

I thought I solved this problem a year ago when I swore off buying anything but black socks. I don’t care if my pants are brown, blue, or green. From now on the socks are black. Solid black—with no pattern. No specks, no spades, no stripes, no “Star Bellies”—nothing to cause one sock to discriminate against the other.

So I went to Sam’s Club and bought a two-pound bail of black socks. I think there was a dozen pair in the bail. These were nice “Gold Toe” brand socks. They could not possibly get mixed in with the girls' socks, and since my new socks were in sort of a group marriage, whoever was sorting laundry wouldn't have to worry about "matching" specific pairs.

But about six months ago, I was again down to two or three pairs floating on top of the sea of no-match socks. So I went back to Sam’s Club and bought another bail. By all rights, I should have a drawer full of twenty pairs of “like new” black socks, but I don’t. What is going on? Tonight at dinner,* I asked the girls if they’d seen any of my black socks.

“Dad, Why would we take your socks?” they asked as if being accused of taking the ”emergency use only” dental floss I keep wrapped around the AAA card in my wallet.

So if my girls aren’t taking my socks, where are they going?

I have a theory. I can’t prove it, but I’m thinking DuPont or 3M or some other chemical company has developed a new fiber for making socks. They look and feel like any other sock, BUT they eventually dissolve in the wash. These socks survive a few wash cycles, but then some of them just dissolve at predetermined intervals like time-release capsules. Poof! They're gone, without a trace. Twelve go into the wash; three dissolve; nine come out. Next time eight go in. (The odd sock remains in the drawer.) One dissolves; seven come out. Odd sock now has a mate. Eight go into the wash three dissolve, and so on—until it’s back to Sam’s Club for another bail of socks.

It's an insidious form of designed obsolescence. These time-release socks could be part of a global conspiracy launched by the world's largest chemical company, BASF.

“At BASF, we don’t make the socks;
we make the socks you wear disappear.”

* It was a very late dinner since the school was open for Parent-Teacher conferences until 8:00PM. By the time I got home, I mostly just sat and nibbled and visited with our company: my mother-in-law who's visiting from Kansas and my future son-in-law who was visiting from down the road. =) It's been a long day, which may explain my sensibilities at the moment.


Blogger Jody said...

I never would have guessed that you have a 'sock problem' in your home. Funny. You think you know a person and than- something like this rears it's head. =)
In case you haven't seen it yet, Chip was allowed to be my 'guest writer' at Nitty.Gritty. on Thursday. I think he wants a monthly spot after just one post- he thoroughly enjoyed it.
Otherwise he may have to create his own site...
Nitty.Gritty.'s Husband, where my fans can get 'the real dirt'!
So, I'm just wondering outloud, do you wear sandals or flip-flops in the summer to avoid the sock-thing a bit less? More importantly, what would you do without this sock concern of yours- life would be stress-free, and we all know that THAT's no fun. =)

10/11/06 9:07 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Summertime is largely sock free:)
I don't like the "between the toe" feeling of flip-flops so it's sandles. In fact, I got a pair at the giant discount store up in Gaylord--was it Norman's?
Hey, thanks for the heads up about Chip's guest post. I would have normally seen it sooner. It's been a busy week. I'm going there right now!

10/11/06 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hilarious! I think someone must be playing tricks on you! Our socks never seem to disappear, and when they do I just check under Emily's bed. For some reason, they are usually there. Very funny post. Thanks for making me smile (and maybe chuckle just a little:).


10/11/06 11:17 PM  

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