Alternate History, Art, Socks, Uncategorized

Sock Reboot*


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.


When I first got into sock collecting, just getting my feet wet, as they say, I picked this item up at a garage sale, as one does. The previous owner assured me, that it was an attachment for one of the original Amana clothing dryers – – an automated sock fluffer.  I’ve harbored an increasing suspicion, that this was malarkey.  I’m going to keep it, because I believe it can be tweaked & re-purposed, for another hobby close to my heart – – waffles.  More about that later.


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! [ ]

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 stocking cap, a genius hybrid.  Freshman year, but I do not recall any of the particulars of the evening this photo was taken.


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.