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Last week, August McLaughlin mentioned that blogging about socks was one way to avoid controversy. Well, I’m all for avoiding controversy, and I’ve even been known to take advice, so here’s a quick, hopefully non-controversal, glimpse into the secret life of socks.

Socks. We all need them, two of them usually, but it’s a hard life being a sock. As the great philosopher Sockrates once said, if a sock opens it mouth, someone’s going to put their foot in it. Occasionally things get so bad, a sock will take its own life. You may think that your toe has worn a hole in a sock, but check the nine millimeter in the back of the drawer before casting it out (especially if you live in Texas).

Life isn’t all bad for socks. Vexed romances are not for them. They pick a mate and stick with it through thick and thin (usually in that order). Right out of the packaging they know they a matched pair, it’s as plain as the toes on their, well toes. They’re a pair for life, a separation just doesn’t cross their mind. In fact, there’s no more feared a thing in the sock world than the enforced social mix-up of an elementary school’s odd-sock day.

And socks aren’t just the simple wool and cotton things you imagine; all that time bunched up in your bottom drawer gives a sock time to think. Over the years, sock science has done wonders, and miracles abound. Take wash day, for example. Every sock likes a wash, every sock wants to be clean, but not every sock likes to be tumbled round and round and round in the baking heat. Imagine it, forty-five minutes rolling toes over ankle, your insides being turned out. Uggghhhh.

But socks are a resourceful kind. Inside that whirling maelstrom socks bind together, knotting, twisting and rolling, eventually hitting critical mass and opening, not a wormhole, but a wornhole. Wornhole technology by far exceeds mankind’s primitive quantum theory. Naturally, it has its basis in string theory, but with a much better thread count.

The swirling socks travel through the wornhole to the mythical city of Atlantis. Mentioned by Plato, the city was rich and powerful, gleaming spires vied with majestic statues and sweeping gardens. Once granted a visit to the city, he reported it blew his socks off. Impressive, since I think the guy usually only wore sandals.

Atlantis’s disappearance isn’t a mystery in the sock world. The city’s power was something that couldn’t be trusted in mankind’s hands. This wasn’t just a case of blatant appendage-ism, the potential for ill outweighed the potential good, and the socks didn’t want to caught on the back foot, or accused of being a bunch of loafers.

So socks piled in, swamping the island, masking the statues and covering the gardens with a protective shield (odor eating, of course). Their efforts were very socksessful, and with their secret safe, socks frolic in a vacation paradise, where drawers are sorted daily, and washing is hung on lines to bask in the sunshine and wave in the sea breeze.

Plato documented this disappearance, and although his original text is lost in the mists of time, his immortal phase that summed up the disappearance has been passed down through the ages; who isn’t aware of the phrase “to sock something away?” But the socks, of course, refer to the disappearance of Atlantis as the great sockrifice.

Back in the real world, socks are a serious sort, never putting a foot wrong. They have a job to do, and take it seriously. Talk to a sock for very long and he’s bound to give you the old “behind every successful man or woman, a sock is carrying their load” quote.

They do get to kick off their shoes and watch TV from time to time. They’re always cheering for their colors at football matches and Dr Sock has made Star Trek is a favorite throughout the sock world.

Despite their numerous successes, no sock has ever made it big in the music industry.

Few know it was the soft toes and cool-wearing technology of a new pair of black Marks and Spencers cotton single knits that inspired Jimmy Page and Robert Plant to write Stairway to Heaven. Michael Jackson’s moonwalk? Yep, frustrated with his two left feet, his socks took control. And it was only a last minute wording change by Elvis’s producer that stole eternal musical glory from a pair of blue suede knee highs.

So there you have it. Socks: clever, resourceful, full of secrets and, darn it, not a bit musical – they don’t even like sole.


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