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home : opinions : opinions February 5, 2016

1/22/2014 9:07:00 AM
From the Lips of Lions
Readers' guide to 'Safe Socks'
By Wil Williams

We've all grown up with socks. We've become comfortable having them around. But I'm here to tell you that sock complacency is poor judgment on your part.

Sock problems are not new since some forms of socks were in evidence as early as the eighth century B. C. Early sock versions were normally animal skins or matted animal hairs and were probably not available in all the startling colors available today.

So visualize his daily dilemma: Quoc of ancient Sumeria not only had to find and kill his breakfast every morning, he probably had no more control over his matted animal hair accessories than you do over those nifty Argyles that Aunt Erma gave you last Christmas.

Let's examine the challenge. You put two socks into the washer/dryer and only one comes back out. That should be your first warning that socks aren't to be trusted. They will escape at the drop of a fabric softener sheet. I've read of truant socks that were found in street gutters several houses away, sodden and bereft of hope.

As with run-away children, they don't think things through. Just where were they going and how would they support themselves once they got there?

If you count an uneven number of socks in the drawer, check popular escapee hangouts in the vicinity of the dryer vent or in the shadowed corners of the laundry room.

Let's face facts, the only time you know where your socks are and what they're doing is when you're wearing them. Even then, I would advise that you check periodically to make sure they're still there.

I'm not alone in my skeptical attitude toward sock behavior. According to Malcolm Happywell writing for Crosscut.com, Dr. Lucas Emil, a systems biologist, conducted a 2006 study among 200 college students regarding their sock management practices. His startling data revealed that 87 percent of the study participants lost socks over a three-month period, but 93 percent actually gained socks!

At least one troubling question screams for an answer here, "Where did the six percent of "extra" socks come from? An extra-terrestrial phenomenon, perhaps? Dr. Emil was unable to solve this mystery even in the face of so many more haunting intrigues that swirled around his research.

I think we can see that we've only scratched the surface of a much more pervasive issue than we had anticipated. We can worry about nuclear proliferation by Iran or North Korea, ongoing encroachment of government into our daily lives and whether global warming is real; but people, we may be overlooking promising anxieties much nearer to home and as close as your own sock drawer.

Admittedly, some socks will always be there for you. But what good is one without its mate? I mean, one sock is about as useful as one hand clapping or one cuff link. Seriously!

There is hope. I've uncovered a website for homeless socks. If you send your downtrodden, forsaken, solitary socks to lonelysock.com, these kind folks will attempt to match them with a mate and provide them to the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization.

How perfect is that?

Are there solutions to sock management concerns? Much more study needs to be done here. I do recommend, however, surprise sock drawer inspections. What you do with what you find is entirely up to you.

But if we simply cannot conquer this shadow over the way we live our lives, I suggest that we run to our retailers and ask them to package socks in threes to protect us against the ones that turn bad.

To comment on this column, email Wil Williams at wilaugust46@gmail.com.

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