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Like many humans, I wear socks.

Over the course of many years of wearing socks, I developed a preference for a certain sock height.  This is presumably not uncommon.  It’s not that I’m obsessive, mind you; I own a wide variety of different sock styles and wear them often.  But a few years ago I purchased a pack of Hanes™ brand white athletic socks, pictured:

Things were going pretty well with these socks.  Not too short, not too tall, kind of a mid-calf height.  I thought these socks were right on, in fact; so much so that they became my go-to sock.  My default sock choice, if you will.  And after a little while I went back to the store and picked up a couple more packs of the same style.  Here the plot thickens.

Upon this second trip to the store (or perhaps even a third one at a later time) one of two things happened.  Either A) I picked up a pack of the wrong size or B) Hanes™ mislabeled or mismanufactured a pack such that they are slightly too big for my feet.  Whichever the case, this variable slipped past me undetected and the slightly-too-large socks were thoroughly integrated into the sock arsenal.  So now I frequently find myself wearing one sock of the correct size and another of the wrong size, resulting in the mildly irritating phenomena of either 1) the gray heel area wrinkling up and being visible at the back of my shoe or 2) (more common) a wad of sock curling up under the toes inside said shoe.  Or, occasionally, 3) both.

It’s one of those things that causes no real problems, yet becomes a near constant but infinitesimally mild annoyance.  I try to counter this by attempting to roll the socks with their equally sized partners, but this is not foolproof.  At one point I had the idea to mark the longer socks with a black Sharpie™, say, on the bottom of the sock, but when I get them out of the dryer and group the socks together it becomes nearly impossible in most cases to tell the long ones from the short ones.  In truth, the only way to tell for sure would be to try them on one at a time after washing.  But by doing this I would stretch the post-wash elastic snugness of each sock, which is undesirable.  And I fancy myself too much an environmentalist to wash the clean socks again after a furious bout of size-testing just for the sake of making them fit snugly again, so I simply try to eyeball it.  And I fail a significant percentage of the time.

The point?  Well, there isn’t one.  Except that it’s interesting to wonder what secrets people keep, what little things are running through their head.  Most of these inconveniences are never uttered, yet everyone has them from time to time.  For every pedestrian you encounter, there may well be a 20% chance that one of said pedestrian’s socks is longer than the other.  Or perhaps they harbor something darker or more thrilling.  Either way, you will never know.  But, on occasion, don’t you want to?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Tracey O'Brien permalink
    02/28/2010 12:38 pm

    Now I completely understand why you smell of fresh Tide. I love it when things come full circle.

  2. Billy Howard permalink
    02/28/2010 12:44 pm

    As always you cut to the chase, separating the wheat from the chaff, clearly defining the issues of the twenty-first century in prose both lyrical and precise and finding that common ground of humanity in the entire world of sock-wearing people.

  3. 04/08/2010 6:17 am

    Sounds like you might have to start all over with a new brand; might I suggest socks with stripes. Or, cycling socks usually have graphics on them and I’ve yet to have a pair stretch out. I understand your frustration. If I don’t line up my boxers with my pants right, I’m cockeyed (um, yeah, puns & stuff) for the whole day.

  4. Sir Vivor permalink
    05/13/2010 2:10 am

    Although it’s been a while since you posted it, would you mind if I suggest a simple solution?
    At the end of the day, just before taking off your socks – put a safety pin on the longer one.
    Thus, you can wash it without loosing the marking. In the end, it will be easy to pair the “offending” socks together and take the necessary measures for more permanent marking.

    • mcliatt permalink*
      05/14/2010 4:12 pm

      Hm. I’ll have to dig around to see if I have safety pins. Maybe I should just keep a Sharpie™ next to the hamper.

      I like to say “hamper.” That’s a good word.

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