Sock It to Me


Life is full of little mysteries. Why does bread land butter side up? Why do cats land on their feet?  How does a microwave work? Can anyone explain the balk rule? What exactly is the electoral college?  These are all great mysteries which have been addressed by the great minds of scientists, philosophers, umpires and theologians over the years.  But have do you ever stop to think about socks and to ponder their mysteries?  You probably do not give much thought to those things you put on your feet every day. 

Few things in life are as ubiquitous as socks.  Almost every day we grab a pair (hopefully clean!) and pull them on.  Socks have been around since the dawn of man when he gathered up animal skins and tied them around his ankles for warmth and as a great fashion accessory.  Over time man developed fabric and knitting needles so that he could invent socks to keep his toes warm and comfy.  The invention of the knitting machine in 1589 rocked the sock world as it could knit socks six times faster than by hand.    This helped transform socks from a sign of nobility to an everyday staple. The next big jump in sock technology came in 1938 with the introduction of nylon.  This allowed two or more yarns to be blended which paved the way for such important developments as striped socks, superhero socks, Hello Kitty Socks and rainbow socks with toes.

Now you may be thinking the only mystery about socks is why so many are so ugly, but wait, there is more.  First, have you ever noticed that socks have a chameleon quality?  It is a little recognized fact that some socks can actually change their color.  Why is it that every time you reach into your sock drawer there are multiple pairs of every color except the color you are looking for?  Why does your sock drawer ALWAYS have at least one pair of a color that you are certain you have never purchased in your life?  Yes, there are some socks that have the ability to change color just to confuse you!

A second mystery about socks concerns their mobility.  Why, when you do laundry, do you always end up with unmatched socks?  Because they have mobility.  On the way to the washing machine they stealthily make their escape and are never seen again.  Legend has it that if you ever find El Dorado, not only will you find the lost city of gold; you will also find all the unmatched socks since the beginning of time.

A third mystery about socks is that some are indestructible.  Unfortunately, the only socks that are indestructible are the socks that you do not like that.  Think about it – don’t you have at least one pair of socks that you wear every week in an attempt to wear them out in order to throw them away?  I am certain I have one pair of tube socks I have been trying to wear out to no avail since the late seventies!

Tomorrow morning, as you are getting ready for the day and you open your sock drawer and you can’t find the right color or you are missing a sock or you are wondering why that pair you hate just won’t wear out, just take a moment to pause and ponder the mysteries of the sock drawer.


3 thoughts on “Sock It to Me

  1. Bill Patterson

    Funny, as always, Leonard. The old “Snigglets” book gave a definition of the place where socks go when you open the dryer and some are missing: the hozone, short for hosiery zone.


  2. Robert Weidner

    It is the truth I always have a half a pair of sox in my sock drawer. Some times I have two or three. Then one day they catch up to each other but by that time they don’t quite match by having been washed so much. I, however have never found a pair of sox I hate. My wife does, and mysteriously when she sees sox she doesn’t like, they disappear. I have sweat sox that have not seen outside air since I used them at MHS but I keep them because maybe I will put on my athletic shoes again. Everyone knows you wear white sox with those. I wonder where those shoes are? Thanks Leonard



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