Last summer, I wrote about the World-Famous Senecka County Sock Festival, still held annually, despite the obvious controversies, protests, and on one occasion, a catastrophic explosion. Senecka Sock Fest
This is another post about socks, but it’s new and better. Because it’s shorter. And we’ve added an elastic comfort-band with Lycra.
Just a summary of my findings from a scientific historical analysis. But allow me to begin with a personal anecdote, that I didn’t include in my last monograph.
It’s brief, extremely relevant, and was the catalyst for the entire research project.
I’ve always had an inordinate number of unmatched socks.
Technically, manufacturers and retailers would call this problem “un nombre excessif de chaussettes inégalées” (because I’ve found, the entire foot garment industry is conducted in French, for some unknown reason).
You can take it as gospel, I am absolutely religious about keeping my socks in pairs, and I swear, they go into the wash like creatures onto Noah’s Ark, two by two.
But not all of them come out again.
At least, not in this dimension.
So…when I was in college, I did a semester abroad at Lingnan University, in Hong Kong.
And the very first time I went down to the dorm laundry room, and opened the dryer, there were two of my socks.
They’d gone missing at home a couple of years before. And here they were again, in Hong Kong. The socks have a very distinctive pattern, and I recognized them instantly.
I’d always wondered if my lack of matching socks was due to a genetic flaw, or gremlins, or maybe I’d failed to fish some of them out of the Hoover when I vacuumed, but standing there, in a dank basement laundry in Hong Kong, I realized in a flash, that clothes dryers are some sort of time-space portals.
Many of you have had similar experiences, and have sensed the truth of this.
As further evidence, I need only mention that Rockford Red Heel socks, used to make sock monkeys, were invented in 1932.
And yet a patent for sock monkeys wasn’t granted until 1953!!
I guess further explication isn’t necessary, but basically, it’s hardly credible that it would take people twenty-one years to figure out how to make a sock monkey, out of their unmatched socks.
So it follows that it was a lack of single socks that was holding things up. Ipso facto, it was the sudden appearance of the electric clothes dryer, invented in 1938, that made it possible for the sock monkey industry to take off, by creating a huge surplus of single socks!
The electric clothes dryer had to be invented, for sock monkeys to evolve and for history to progress.
Dryers seem like innocent appliances, and valuable additions to our modern lifestyle, but we now know, they’re actually a Clothes Line to Chaos. I think you’ll agree, the logic is impeccable.
So anyway, when I’m traveling around, visiting different states or countries, no matter where I roam, there’s one constant – – I will always pop into any laundromats I run across, even if there’s nothing that needs washing.
I just check the dryers.
One particular item continues to elude me, a mid-calf wool-blend, in Mackay tartan, but I will bring it to heel, it’s just a matter of time.
I remember something from Eng. Lit. about “poetic feet,” and it reminded me to ask – – do you know the English poet and librettist Charles Bennett? He writes wonderful stuff, including a poem called “William Wordsworth’s Socks,” it’s online, you should read it! [ http://poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record59fe.html?id=2810 ]
I offer as a very poor substitute:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and rocks,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of unaccompanied socks;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
Stretched in a never-ending clothes line
Their faithless partners gone astray
It’s more melancholy with just socks, and no daffodils, isn’t it.
The “Sock Monkey” comic book was written and drawn by Tony Millionaire and published by Dark Horse Comics; cover design by Tony Millionaire
* If you think “Sock Reboot” is a lame title, it was originally “Sock Appendix” But that sounded like an unpleasant medical condition. “Sox Redux” almost made it, but you can’t make socks out of duck cloth, so I lost interest.
40 thoughts on “Sock Reboot*”
Your sock stories are some of the best!
Found this joke on the Internet.
What did the hat say to the sock?
I’ll go on ahead, you go on foot.
That’s awful! Thanks so much. 🤗
If we had to wait 21 years for a sock monkey, we had to wait even longer, till the 1960s, for people to pick up the fad of saying “Sock it to [whoever],’ and especially “Sock it to me!” It’s good that you didn’t get sock and tired of weaving these yarns for us. As for French and footwear, perhaps you remember this tongue twister: “Combien sont ces chaussures-ci? Ces chaussures-ci sont six sous.” (How much do these shoes cost? These shoes cost six sous.)
Wow that’s a real tongue twister! but what a bargain. Thank you, Steve. 🥴
You’re welcome. I altered the one we learned in high school French class, where the noun was saucissons, which is to say sausages.
A mid-calf wool-blend, in Mackay tartan, did you say? I think I can help you there. I was checking the washing machine yesterday…
Yea! Thanks Mick!
Your sock poetry is without parallel!! As for the missing and misaligned pairs I think there may be a 12 step program for people who suffer from that affliction 😀
haha! very good! 😄
What explanation is there for your socks reappearing in Asia? Were you part of a Twilight Zone episode?
I think 🤔 that’s very likely. Rod Serling was from this area.
The other explanation, is that a factory in China made those patterns by the millions, and somebody in the dorm, had the same good taste in footwear.
Love your socks! 😉
ha! thanks, Pit!
Clothes Line to Chaos … absolutely true! I know this because Sometimes They Come Back, behind the dryer, wrinkled and infested with dust bunnies. It’s like the Revenge of the Displaced Clotheslines!
I only buy unpatterned socks of one color now, so if some go missing I can make matches anyway. A fashion faux pas (french!) I suppose, but it reduces sock-related stress syndrome, which is a real thing.
Nice hat! Very trendy for our current times. Please wear it out in public and let us know how that goes.
haha!😄 Thanks Dale. I worry about those dust bunnies too.
I have quite a few different hats and caps, to express different moods — this hat says, yeah, Insane Sock Monkey!!
Having seen a sock fluffer on Antiques Roadshow I’m here to tell you that baby of yours is the real deal. It even has drop-down gear changer piston action (something for bobby socks, I dunno) which unfortunately may cause syrup drainage issues if you go the waffle route but piling on the butter can offset that. Any plans for the weekend? Resting up from this last trip of yours? Did you get in on Sunday night without any problems?
Glad I didn’t get taken on that garage sale. The flights went fine but yesterday I spent coughing like crazy, definitely not the Corona plague, I only had Modelo, but just a nasty Milwaukee cold, I’ll pick up a steroid puffer this morning
Thanks Jason, sounds like you’d be the perfect guy to do the Perkins Waffle Conversion on that machine, I watched the Youtube how-to videos but I’d probably lose an arm or something. Seriously you’d love the Steam Festival, held near Canandaigua, where they get all kinds of whacked out gear like this actually up and running.
I was recently walking in the Ardennes when I came across one hiking sock left on a bench! How did that happen? A hiker takes off his socks to massage his (I’m saying his because it was like size 50/14) weary feet and then forgets to put one of them back on?
PS Was it yours?
I’ll have to check, but offhand I don’t recall losing a hiking sock. (Were there any laundromats in that forest?)
Ha, no. I spent the next 3 kms looking for the other one!
You won’t believe this, but I’ve never lost a sock. Not a one. And the mismatched pairs, they have cousins just as mismatched. It’s true. One pair is blue and red for the left and right foot. The other red and blue for the right and left foot. I do get them mixed up sometimes. I should tag them or have initials or something. They are just for the weekend though.
Seriously, that’s quite something to be able to say that, not one lost
Of course, that is just since I’ve been on my own as an adult. No idea about before then. Modern washers are pretty tightly drummed and we don’t use our dryer. Now, I am allowing myself the freedom to not count dog mischief as losing.
Personally I don’t think they even make it to the dryer. They go down the drain with the rinse water, making their way to the ocean where they become hats for certain fish. Sockeye salmon you know…
haha very good! “My Life as a Fisherman, Stocking the Sockeye Salmon”.
Fun sock encounters. I had to smile at the socks reappearing in Hongkong. One way to solve the problem is to only have the same kind of socks. 🙂
Thank you, Otto. I know, I should just buy a crate of black socks and be done with it.
Love the poem–very funny post! My Facebook “network” consists of mostly close friends and family, spread out all over the country, so one day, when I was doing laundry and could only find one of a pair of Nate’s socks (even though both went into the laundry at the same time), I actually thought about taking a picture of the sock that made it and posting it to my Facebook page with this caption: “Has anyone seen this sock?” I’ll bet, if everyone looked in their dryers, they would find that sock–or maybe a sock monkey.
Thank you, Cecilia, maybe we can make Sock Search an annual event, probably we’re all in the same boat.
Love, love, love it, Robert! I needed those laughs! My partner Joe has a thing about matching his socks after the wash – he is a bundle of nerves until that triumphant moment when he pairs them all up. But you don’t want to be there if he’s missing one! 🙂
Thanks, Lynn. I’d asked around for pictures of sock monkeys, nobody in the family has one, but I remembered one being around the house – – I hadn’t realized my sister thought they were creepy when she was a kid, so she walked it down to the church and tossed it in the donations bin.
A few odd memories just turned up from my brother after he read my last post, so I get it. It’s funny how siblings remember things so differently, but they also have certain vivid memories in common.
The lost socks of the world have been crying out (not that we can hear them) for a proper send off, and you have stepped into the breach to provide it. And have you noticed, it always seems to be our favorite socks that disappear? Clearly, I need to go to Hong Kong to make further inquiries….
It’s well worth the long flight, Melissa, no telling what you’ll find in the dryers there!
Hmmm….that gives me pause!
I certainly didn’t know about Charles Bennett but I read his poem out loud to Nigel, and I also read aloud your poem. Much hilarity! Thank you 🙂
Oh, so glad you got a kick out of it, thank you!