Wednesday, August 10, 2011

O Sock, Where Art Thou?

There have been unsolved mysteries since the beginning of history. Did Atlantis really exist? How was Stonehenge built and what was it used for? What was the fate of the little Princes in the Tower? What happened to Amelia Earhart? But the biggest unsolved mystery of all...

When two socks go into the washer, why does only one sock come out the dryer?

I have a pile of socks waiting for their mates. I'm not talking about 2 or 3 socks, I'm talking about a lot. I know, however, the moment I decide to get rid of them, the other sock will materialize. I know this for sure.

I've looked under beds. I've looked under and behind sofas. I've looked behind the washer and dryer. No socks.

Where did that other sock go?

There are unproved theories. The rings of Saturn are actually made up of single socks. The missing socks go into the same vortex as lost luggage. There is a compartment inside every dryer that sucks up one sock. If you find the compartment, you'll find the socks.

Socks were one of the first items of clothing worn by early man. These 'socks' were animal skins gathered up around the ankles and worn to protect the feet and keep them warm. Ancient Greeks used matted animal hair. By 1000 AD, wearing socks was a sign of wealth among the nobility.

This tells me missing socks have been around since the dawn of time. There were misplaced socks hiding in the back of the cave, or dropped on the way back from the river. I'll bet if you looked under the stones at any ancient Greek ruins you would discover ancient Greek socks. Middle Ages socks were probably eaten by wandering livestock or put into stews.

Meanwhile, back in the present...

I don't want to make sock bunnies. I don't want to use it as a duster. I don't want to find out new and crafty ways for these single socks to better my life.

I just want the other sock.

Or a trip to Saturn to discover if the rings theory is correct.

Elspeth Antonelli is an author and playwright. Her twelve murder mystery games and two plays are available through She has also contributed articles to the European writers' magazine "Elias". Her blog, "It's A Mystery" explores the writing process with a touch of humor. She is on Twitter as @elspethwrites.

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  1. One of THE mysteries of life. I give ours to our 14 year old who likes to wear odd socks :)

  2. LOL. Here's a true thing. If you knit your own socks, you never lose any. I speak from experience. It takes 20 hours to knit a pair FYI. This might have something to do with keeping track of pairs. Ten hours of my life circling Saturn? I think not!

  3. Sarah; Aren't you lucky? My 14 year old would rather die than wear unmatched socks.

    Dani; I'm sure that's true. How I wish I could knit! I can crochet and sew, but the knitting gene seems to have alluded me. Maybe I should try again.

  4. What fun. Reminds me of a piece the esteemed Erma Bombeck wrote a long time ago. The mystery of the missing socks has never been solved as far as I know. I'm not buying the whole rings of Saturn theory.

  5. Maryann; I loved Erma Bombeck! Many of her books sit on my shelves and even after umpteen reads they still make me laugh.

  6. I think that the heat combined with the speed of the rotating dryer creates a temporary, small space-time portal. In short--the dryer is actually a time machine. But the wormhole is only large enough and only stays open long enough for one stray sock to make its way into the future. Someone in distant future, probably 2500 or so, socks are going to start raining.

    But in all practicality, that's why I get socks that all look the same. That one, I can just match up the socks that have lost their mate.

  7. Selina; I think your theory has merit. I tried the 'all the same type of sock' for my kids for a time, but discovered it was very hard to say whose sock was whose. The result was one child overflowing with socks while another was suffering from sock famine.

  8. I've found that once I stopping caring where the other sock somehow appears just as mysteriously as it disappeared.

  9. Mohamed; That's happened to me too! I've found looking around in a very casual manner sometimes fools the socks and they reappear.

  10. Socks are in fact those pesky commas scattered throughout a manuscript that shouldn't be where they are. If you look close, you'll see they're shaped the same.

  11. Helen; The mystery is solved! You're so clever.

  12. Written simply and tastefully. It’s pleasant to read. Thank u.


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