Friday, November 5, 2010

The Weekend Mystery of the Missing Socks

The age old phenomena. Missing socks syndrome. We search laundry baskets, closets, around the washer and dryer, in the fridge, under the dog's bed... Many have tried to solve or explain the quandary. No one seems to have the definitive answer but some have some views.

Survivalists contend that socks are the 84th thing to go missing after the world as we know it ends (1st are generators). Interesting certainly, but I think that's a topic for a whole new post.

Missing "single" socks. Gone after an innocent exercise in washing. There are those who claim that the dryer is a harvester of alien intelligence, that aliens are amongst us and are curious as to the use of such objects and take samples in order to study them. Being superior beings (without sock knowledge) they are selective in their sampling and that would explain why the remaining sock is always the left one.

Moralists would explain that socks become dirty over time and because they are trapped in a life of sin and depravity, devoid of morals, they deserve to 'disappear'.

And, my favourite, that there is a Sock Ring, a criminal entity who captivate wayward socks for nefarious purposes. Perhaps to make them do their evil deeds.

Finally, we have those who propose that there is a quantum mechanics reason behind it all:

"The first modern attempt to explain the fundamental questions of laundry involved the decay theory. The decay theory states that the quantity of socks in a load can be expressed as a decreasing exponential function of time which is analogous to radioactive decay (see equation 1).

Nt =N0*exp(-pt) (1)"

I don't get that one but maybe you will. If so please explain to me. You have my email...


  1. There have also been anecdotal accounts beyond your theoretical, scientific explanations. It has been posited that this phenomenon is all the work of the Sock Puppets. Not to be confused with the Sock Ring - different mission statement although it is thought they began as a splinter group. I digress. A backstage story is the clever recruitment of old and new socks by first separating the socks with the shrunken, washed up argument. From there it is usually easy for the Sock Puppets to convince them to stretch themselves by joining their surreal theatre troupe. Once the Sock Puppets perform the button stitching ritual, with the promise of the glamour of a new life and identity, the lure of life without shoes is too great. You have lost your sock(s) forever.

  2. Anonymous is very clever. I think I like his nefarious Sock Puppets.

    I never, ever lost a sock. Notice the past tense.

    Now I lose them all the time. I think it has to do with a relaxing of vigilance that is a result of children growing up, children living far away and a husband who repeats, "You really don't have to match them up, you know. I only just fire them into my sock drawer, anyway."

    I have become very blithe about socks. Casual, even heedless. I figure the Sock Ring can have my single right-foot socks. It keeps them from morphing into something more sinister yet.

  3. Haha. Am honoured by your thoughts, LM! If only they'd take both right and left! I'm anal when it comes to mismatched socks... it looks like my mother should have dressed me!

  4. Rand,

    Let me tell you about my uncle Joe who had a peg leg. Best dancer ever in our (very large) family, unless his stump was ulcerated. he could jive with the best of them.

    He only wore socks that were either black or white. And whenever it was noticed that his socks didn't match, he would say, "Oh, I put the wrong leg on."

    No hint of a lie!