December 14th, 2007

krazy koati

I like the tricky way you grin

I'd like to take a few paragraphs now to write something on the subject of the men's sock, and please understand that this is not implicit permission to have your eyes glaze over and drift on to some other article arguing over grand strategy in the world. That article will amount to more shouting and less insight anyway.

Men's socks as far as I can tell divide into two categories. One is the dress sock, and the other is the normal sock. Normal socks are usually white and maybe have a couple of ribbons of color at the top so when you try getting dressed you can find you don't have a matching pair. Somewhere around seventh grade I accepted that the colored bands would never match and tried the trick of having the tops rolled up to hide what they were, and as soon as last Wednesday I realized this never fooled anyone for any time ever.

There are also short regular socks. These barely go past the ankle, and they avoid the band of color disaster by the expedient of slipping down under the ankle and snapping into a gnarled mess around the ball of the foot. This is probably why flip-flops are so popular, since the only people who can wear socks with flip-flops are oblivious to all circumstances. Also they're betting that it won't rain while they're outside. Somehow the storm holds off until just after they step in. They're also betting it won't drive them crazy to have the sock fabric colliding with the plastic post to the outside of the big toe. It will, but they don't notice.

Dress socks have the almost unique advantage among men's clothes of being about the only article of clothing with a texture that actually feels good against the skin. They feel particularly good when the feet are then tucked into sneakers, so that there's a compelling motive to pretend you didn't think to change your socks when going from dress shoes to sneakers, or that you changed your mind at the last minute and wore sneakers instead. It's almost enough to make up for their inability to keep the feet warm, so they encourage long drives with the car heater directed at the floor and with the fan turned up enough to make the dashboard hover ten feet off the floor.

Dress socks start in the store as uniform dark tubes of fabric of uniform length and pattern, and last that way after purchase for seconds. In the dresser drawer -- even if bundled into pairs -- they mutate rapidly, sharing ribosomal RNA with surrounding clothes, the dresser, the vase of plastic flowers on top of the dresser, the mirror, the bookshelf down the room, and in extreme cases the cat. Thanks to a form of protective mimicry that socks developed in their native environment of the Platte Basin off Brazil they still appear when examined near the drawer to match. When I put them on my foot, either foot, they shrink to about the size of my big toe. This is normal, and the mouth of the sock can be stretched open wide enough for the elastic to send the sock flying over the cat. This brings joy to the cat.

Examined under the lights that exist everywhere except my bedroom the socks are absolutely nothing alike. It would be difficult to find two of anything that have less in common than these socks do. The colors are about as close to one another as ``dark brown'' is close to ``international telecommunications''. Somehow even little ridges along one sock's length are completely different from the other's. And one of them goes considerably farther up the leg than the other. It may even be on someone else's leg. And there are no other socks in existence that slightly resemble either one have on already. It makes a shambles of the whole project.

Fortunately nobody's noticed any sock another person's worn since 1978, but can we count on that happy state lasting forever? I hope so. I've already sunk a quarter of my earnings this past year into socks and can't keep up like that.

Trivia: In the third and final moonwalk the Apollo 17 astronauts collected sixty-three samples. Source: Apollo 17 Mission Report, JSC-07904, Mission Evaluation Team, approved by Own G Morris.

Currently Reading: Invaders From The Infinite, John W Campbell. (Aliens have thundered into the roof.) ``Lord, Arcot -- queer specimens, yet they seem familiar!'' said Morey in an undertone. [ Morey: ] ``They are. Their race is that of man's first and best friend, the dog! See the brown eyes? The typical teeth? The feet still show the traces of the dog's toe-step. Their nails, not flat like human ones but rounded? The mottled skin, the ears -- look, one is advancing.'' And a page and change later after the space puppies who've come to earth explain they don't have anything to match human physical science but have metal abilities far beyond those of mortal Pekinese, ``Dogs are far more psychic than man. They would naturally tend to develop such a civilization,'' said Arcot judiciously. Ah, John W ... is there any way to tell you apart from a parody of you?