Monday, July 19, 2010

Long sock short sock black sock white sock this sock that sock sock sock sock

Socks all seem so simple, don't they? They just sit in a drawer waiting until you want to put them on your feet, and you take them out, and put them on your feet. I mean, what could be less difficult than that?

On the weekend I conducted an auditing process of the household socks. I removed them from all the drawers and boxes that they had been lurking in, draped them over the beds and chairs, and began to set apart the socks that seemed to have no partner, to see if I could partner them all up again. I had done a similar thing some months ago and my intention was to do the same thing now.

Unfortunately the number of socks without an obvious sock partner seemed to have multiplied since last time. Or had they? I found a number of socks that were the same size as one another, but a different colour; other socks were of a different size but of the same colour; many socks had pictures on them, and indeed, many of the many that had pictures on them looked quite similar, but the pictures were different.

If truth be told I started getting a little panicky. What if, indeed, some of these socks did not really come in pairs, and had always meant to be sold as single socks for monopedal travellers? Another thought had occurred to me as well: that, indeed, many of the socks of the same size, and the same colour, but with different pictures on them, were meant to go together anyway, because sometimes it's nice to wear differently-coloured socks on either foot. I would almost have put these socks together - on the general principle of 'if the shoe fits, wear it', the shoe in this case being a sock - but then I didn't. Because, after all, how was I to tell for sure that these socks with different logos were really meant to go together? And what if, a day or a week or a month or a year or so in the future, I uncovered the real partner of these socks? I would be left with another odd sock, and I would probably not remember what I did with the first (or perhaps it was the second*) odd sock in the first place.

In other, stranger cases, I seemed to turn up a few examples of three socks of comparable size and colour that may or may not have been meant to go together. This naturally suggested that there was a tripedal person in the house, though I'm not sure whether that was the Baron or myself. I thought I had better check about that one, but for some reason the Baron scoffed at my 'three legged freak beast' suggestions. Perhaps the triplets of three matching socks were for the cats, but I've never seen them wear socks. And besides, that left us with another odd sock, since cats typically have four feet (and ours are no exception (I think)).

Gradually the socks were sorted and sifted, and I managed to pair up a good deal of them (not all of them. That would be asking too much.) There's about ten single socks sitting around the house at the moment waiting for their odd partner to turn up. They may be waiting for months. They may be waiting forever. People may suggest to me that I just put the socks together and not worry about it, but if you ask me that sounds distinctly uncouth and unmannerly. There's just something about the thought of unmatched socks going together that gives me the willies.

As a matter of fact, I had been looking at so many socks, and thinking about so many socks, and indeed talking so much about so many of the socks, that with all this sock this and sock that and sock the other thing, I went to bed with socks on my mind, and tossed and turned, possibly with sock-related dreams, until early in the morning.

In other news apparently an election was called on the weekend as well. Well I ask you, are either of the main contenders, Abbott or Gillard, going to do anything about the household sock crisis? I didn't think so.

*Do conventional numbering systems apply to odd socks? Is the missing sock really the second sock, or is it actually the first sock? Was it thinking about the arithmetical and logical complexities of odd socks that drove many mathematicians to formulate their complex theorems and theorise about their difficult formulas?


BwcaBrownie said...

you are definitely on the right track in your conclusion - I believe the odd-sock + pair of socks was the trigger which formulated the whole binary language without which we would not be communicating ...
sock it to me!

Dan the VespaMan said...

Socks Rocks! But a pox on missing socks.

M L Jassy said...

I hope the audit proved soccessful.

TimT said...

Thanks for socking it to me. What with the footwear and underwear it's like an international trade market in our house. Socks and bonds, bonds and socks.

Carolyn Cordon said...

A person surely can wear whatever colour socks they want. Subvert the Dominant Paradigm! Go on, I dare you!

TimT said...

Subverting the dominant paradigm is the dominant paradigm, so I might have to subvert the subversion of the dominant paradigm first.

wayne Job Broadford Victoria said...

I have almost reached the three score years and ten and have never understood the paradox of soxs. Your explanation in my twilight years will let me rest in peace knowing that it is an insoluble scientific mystery. I have been in denial for decades, blaming washing machines, the woman in my life, for this bizzare mystery. Understanding now that it is a universe wide result of the chaos that rules all things in the universe. Thank you.

TimT said...

You put it pretty well yourself Wayne. Thanks for the feedback!

Email: timhtrain - at -

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