Sunday, October 9, 2011


Long ago when I did laundry, I kept lone socks in a box in anticipation of the discovery of its mate.  I was raised to never throw anything away because "You never know when you are going to need it," as my mother preached.

As time went on, the box grew fuller and fuller.  The question arose:  Into what vortex of Hell are these socks disappearing?  That question went unanswered and it was my little secret shame. It was my failure to maintain perfect order in the universe with respect to footwear.  It was my Gordian knot, my sword in the stone, my Shrodinger's cat enigmatic hard task.

I soared whenever good things happened, and they did; but it was somehow that bummer box of socks that plummeted me to earth with the dreaded specter of all those perfectly good socks I had disappointed and  banished to solitary stagnation.  Mea culpa.

Then there was poor Husband, earnestly searching for his favorite socks, whom I hadn't the heart to inform of his more permanent loss.  It haunted me when I was at my weakest.  That box, that box, that unforgiving Hellish remainder in life's equation.

Then one day, I was overtaken by madness and resolved to change my life in a new and wonderful way, to do the unthinkable.  I seized the box, with its multicolored inhabitants (some of whom had holes) and marched to the garbage bin.  What am I doing, I thought, with the numbness of a zombie.

I am cheating and surrendering to my own incompetence.  In the garbage they went without a whimper and I turned my back and walked away, feeling better with each successive step.  New days, guilt-free days, days of buying only one color and style of sock lay ahead.  My vista was new, crisp, and bother free.  All the socks of the world applauded because they know nothing and are happy that way.

Now I think of every challenge I face as a "box of socks."  While the trash bin is the very last resort, located at the brink of insanity, it puts the box of socks in its proper perspective, as a dispensable aggravation.

My new slogan:  If it doesn't match, you must dispatch!


My Favorite Socks (You always know what I want for Christmas!)


  1. Oh, this is so wonderful. I just realized I was also raised on "You never know when you'll need it" and so was my husband, so we have a house full (or a houseful) of things we don't need and couldn't find if we did need them. So many of those plastic or rubbermaid totes full of heaven knows what.
    I love "if it doesn't match, you must dispatch"!
    Unfortunately, my husband's idea of dispatching is to move things out to the garage for "the garage sale" he thinks we're going to have "some day" but have never had. We've been in this house for 10 years, and he has never suggested, "Let's have a garage sale this month."
    What a great post. I love your writing style.

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. I have two baskets of socks doomed to a life of eternal mismatchedness. It's about time to dispatch.

    Nice pink socks...

  3. Are you wearing pink fuzzy socks with water shoes? I throw out my mismatched socks, and that seems to be the exact moment in time when the lost mate turns up- back from the alternate sock dimension.

  4. I don't bother tossing them... we just wear them mismatched around here... its what we do. It works.
    The lost daughter