143. Sox-crazed

In case yesterday’s overture to it didn’t do you in, here by popular demand (from at least 2 people) is the basic gist of the speech that got me “down under”.

In Toastmistress speech contests, each speech had to emphasize an assigned word.  The word this effort was based on was the word “Enumeration”.


I have every reason to believe that sox are detrimental to your emotional and economic well-being, and that they are contributing to the decay of Western Civilization.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking.  That I’m irrational and sox-crazed, that I’m inhibited and frustrated because I’m not getting enough sox, and you’d be dead-on right. I had 18 feet in my family and I never got enough sox to go around.

I tried. Every August I used to go to the J.C. Penney store. Not counting my husband’s, I’d buy 35 pairs of socks for the little persons. The socks were supposed to be divided up like this:  five pair for Mark, five pair for Matthew, five pair for Lisa, five for Susy, five for Gretchen, five for Teresa, five for Judy, and wouldn’t you think that would be ample? But it wasn’t. As soon as I would bring those 35 pairs of socks in the front door, they would mysteriously dissolve into thin air. Allowing the Great Sock War to go on every school morning.

Susy would come running downstairs. “Mommy, why are you letting Gretchen wear my socks?  I was saving those.”  So I’d say, “Well, I didn’t know Gretchen was wearing your socks, Susy, but I knew somebody would be.”  It was sort of a tradition in our family that every single school morning, somebody besides Susy would be wearing Susy’s socks. Susy had acquired a reputation for sock hoarding, and when she’d go to the bathroom, one or more of her siblings would raid her sock drawer.

“I’m not either wearing Susy’s socks,” Gretchen would lie. “And besides, I couldn’t help it. Susy has all the socks.”

“I don’t either have all the socks,” Susy would wail.   “I just wear my longer.”

Well, I was on Susy’s side, but what could I do? It’s not fair to wear dirty socks all the time and then have the clean ones you’ve been saving – raided. On the other hand, I couldn’t send Gretchen to school wearing thongs –  and I couldn’t keep her home either because then the next day, I’d have to write a note to explain that she was absent from school because she couldn’t find any socks.

So then, in despair and frustration, I would bellow: “What I want to know is, where are the three dozen pairs of socks I brought into this house three weeks ago? Where are all the socks?”

And nobody ever knew. Except me. Oh, I knew where half of ‘em were, all right. Half of them were in baskets in my laundry room. And they’re still there.

I’ve got socks of every size, shape, style, and color out there. I’ve got black ones, brown, blue, green, argyll, striped, white, beige, and yellow ones. And the only common denominator among them, besides the fact that they’re practically new and cost a fortune, is that there are no two alike. They have all been abandoned by their mates. And my family is too picky and puritanical to put unmarried socks on their feet.

At one time, I used to try to re-cycle the single socks.  If Judy, for instance, couldn’t find any socks, I would go out and root around in the laundry baskets and try to find two similar ones.

But Judy would have nothing to do with my offering.  She’d say, “But Mommy, these socks don’t match.”  And I’d say, “What do you mean, they don’t match?  They’re both blue, aren’t they?”  And she’d say something like “Well, yes, but the one that has arrows going down the side is too small for my right foot.”

I finally did find a constructive solution to the problem. I started buying only identical navy blue stretch socks for the boys, and identical white stretch socks for the girls. I would still buy 35 pairs but as soon as I brought them in the front door, I would go get a black felt pen.  Then on the toe of each sock, I would print the initial of the first name of the child for whom the sock was designated. “L” for Lisa, “S” for Susy, “G” for Gretchen, “T” for Teresa, “J” for Judy, etc.

Then, when I did the laundry, instead of putting pairs together two-by-two, I used to put them in groups with matching letters. In other words, figuratively speaking, each child had one pair of socks but it had ten mates.

It worked like a charm except on the days when they had gym. One day, Teresa was resisting going to school, and I kept asking her why. Finally, she said, “I can’t go to school because today we have gym.”

So I said, “Well, why don’t you want to have gym?”  “Because”, she said,  “When we have gym, we have to take off our shoes and then everybody keeps asking me why I have ‘T’s’ on the toes of my socks.”

“Oh, is that all?,” I said.  “Well, Teresa, you just tell them that ‘T’ is for ‘Teresa’.”  And she said, “Yes, Mommy, but then what will I say on the days when it says “S”?

I thought about that for a minute and then said, “Okay, tell them that ‘T’ is for toe, ‘S’ is for sock, ‘L’ is for leg, ‘J’ is for jump, and – well, let’s see, –  ‘G’ is for ‘Gee whiz, my mother makes popcorn every day and you can have some if you quit asking me what the ‘G’ is for.’”

So that’s how I solved my little sox problem. Since my children grew up I did think of one more.  I’m going to pass it on to you in case it may benefit you someday.

Consider for a moment the great minds of Western Civilization. Anybody important. To enumerate a few, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, the Caesars, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Jesus and all His Apostles, Columbus, Lafayette, George Washington, Robinson Crusoe: in other words, anybody who was anybody. Well, do you want to know something? When their mothers sent them off to school in the morning, none of them were wearing socks.  I hope that will teach us all a valuable lesson.

Think about it.  Reflect on it.  Join the soxual revolution.  And then maybe you’ll never find yourself in the predicament of that soxy Japanese playboy, Sockitumi, when he got up one school morning and said those immortal words, “Too much saki. Oh, darn.”

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4 Responses to 143. Sox-crazed

  1. Christine Ford says:

    Very funny! I love this story. Now you got me thinking of my mom faced the same problem? Who knows…

  2. Linda Lewis says:

    We should get a clue and buy stock in sox. When I’d go to pick up my grand kids and if they weren’t ready, I’d head for the laundry room and start sorting sox. Never did I ever match all the sox.
    Putting the initial on the sole of the sock helps with the embarrassment.
    Do you think 7×7 instead of 5×7 would have done the trick? Probably not.
    It’s actually the washing machine that eats sox…and bottom sheets love to hoard sox.

  3. I love this story!! It sounds exactly as if I lived in your house 🙂

    Wonderful post!!

  4. Joy Opsvig says:

    I love this!

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