A New Sorting System for Socks

by Joshua Heller
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socks.jpgI am not a totalitarian, you probably aren't either, but there are times when our leftist minds linger on a fleeting thought that fatally undermines our morality. This thought is induced, as I'm sure you are aware, by an errant sock.

Stories have been written to explain the missing sock. Some claim that gnomes are responsible. Others suggest that socks may have just fallen behind the dryer. These tales answer the ontological question: Why is my sock missing?

I am far more concerned with the political and ethical implications of this conversation. Namely, how should one judge a sock that is missing its partner. The school of thought, which I tend to follow in my daily life, is one of tolerance. I throw the singular sock in with rest. One big socky family. Beautiful.

The other school, says with fascist efficiency: "This sock is not normal, eliminate it."

My default state has condemned such actions historically, but recent developments have led me to reconsider adversarial thoughts. My sock drawer has become overcrowded.

Before Burning Man, my girlfriend bought me six sets of anklet socks. I already had a set of wool socks from last winter in London. I had random socks that fell into my bin from doing laundry at my parents' house.

"Hey" I thought "the more socks the merrier."

This restriction-free era, saw an unprecedented growth in the number of socks. At first I didn't care if socks were mismatched, everybody was welcome.

I'd reach into my drawer, an Argyle. A pink lady's sock. An infant sized sock.

Eventually I couldn't find any matching pair.

socks2.jpg I couldn't figure out what to do. In a reformist effort to curb sock-loss I created a space above t-shirts, to keep lonely singles. A sort of dating agency, for socks looking for their soul mate. But more-and-more socks would show up, which couldn't be paired.

So last night, I invented a new sorting system for socks.

I put my clothes into piles. T-shirts here. Pants there. Socks over there.

I left the socks for last. I found myself thinking "folding socks isn't so bad. It's like a game." After the game finished, I threw all the pairs into the drawer. But there was a shocking remainder.

That's when I had that terrible flash of autocracy: "I shall rid my world of all socks that don't have pairs."

I decided it'd better to sleep on this decision, so I threw the socks into a dungeon. When I checked again, they had escaped. Apparently they'd been reintegrated into the general sock population.

I have an open message to that sock with the orange stain on it:

When I re-sort my cottony footwear, you'd better hide, because if I find you, you'll become a victim of this new sorting system for socks.

Fashion is fascism.


Joshua Heller is a writer who travels, a lot. His favorite food is tacos. Check out his blog: http://hellerscorner.blogspot.com  



#1 MaxMillion 2010-01-21 08:07
I am very close to achieving the perfect solution -- I have found a brand of socks I love and have bought many pairs.

Pretty soon I will have only one kind of black sock and they will ALL match each other.


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