I love you people, but you're killing me here!
The challenge was a creative one, give me any topic, and I mean ANY topic and I'd blog about it. So expecting people to ask me about the true nature of love... or what's up with Achille's shield in the Iliad... or to think deep thoughts about our educational system... was probably a fool's errand. Should I, off the top of my pointy head, fix healthcare.gov?
Or would you prefer I write about socks instead?
Hey, I am your Huckleberry. And that's ok, random can be good. Like Dirk Gently we shall pursue truth with a holistic approach as this can sometimes lead to surprising results... because everything IS in fact connected.
So socks. Specifically lost socks. Or as Sean Connery might say, "Shahkx."
We've all experienced this phenomena. The laundry, coming to its thunderous conclusion with our careful patterns of ritual folding, slowly reveals the horror of horrors that <insert stinger here> a sock is missing!
Where did it go? Why did it go there? Will it return? Is there some explanation for how socks make their way out of our orbit? Any theories out there for missing sockness? Is there a Sockratic method to be applied?
Yes, not surprisingly, there are. Here are the top three I've heard recently:
1) Socks, as some of the smallest items of clothing we have, are easily dropped or misplaced on the way to and from the washer / dryer.
They can, in a fit of herculean sockness, vault over the internal cylinder of the washer to quietly await their fate for years at the bottom of the stupid washing machine frame. If they are particularly ambitious, they might make it under a bed, or behind a dresser, living among the dust bunnies of half eaten dog toys and chewed ink pen caps, never to be seen or heard from again. Socks, because of their advantageous size, can play this game of hide and seek better than say, pants.
That's pretty lame. Lame and completely implausible. Surely we can do better. Next theory!
2) Socks have learned to time travel.
When the dryer reaches the appropriate galactic speeds to open doors of temporal shifting those little buggers can't resist the urge to peer into their sock future... or delve into the mysteries of impenetrable sock past. Great Scott!
Unfortunately, time is not space. At least not space as we normally consider it up to three dimensions. So as the socks move through TIME they are stranded in outer SPACE as the earth, sun, milky way and cluster of galaxies have all moved away (over TIME) in their various vectors from the "SPACE" they occupied.
Spinning and cold in the darkness of space like Sandra Bullock without an imaginary George Clooney or a russian fire extinguisher to set things right again.
Basically, your dryer is thousands of miles away when the sockish time shift is complete. They've eloped with my guitar picks to explore the universe together, without you... and without me. But stranded in space, far way from my drawers and feet and comfortable sneakers, the socks would simply have to be surprised. Sock shock!
Or perhaps the socks escape the simple bounds of mass and return to the Higgs field. Won't they be mad when we get enough super-collider juice going to pull the socks back into our reality?
Zing! Bet that little argyle pirate didn't see THAT coming did he?
Still seems thin, let's try one more.
3) Socks are wire hangers in larvae stage.
That's stolen from an unknown, or at least unremembered, comedian I heard years ago. The fact that you are all nodding and smiling now means we're onto something here. To my knowledge, I've never actually purchased a wire coat hanger. Yet I have, literally, thousands of them... filling every closet in our house. Over the course of my life, I have "lost" an eerily similar number of socks. Coincidence? I think not!
Through heat and motion and the friction of other articles of clothing, socks make the magnificent transformation to wire hanger gloriousness. It just takes time for them to mature. They don't do it all at once. But when they go, it's all in, and they make the move forcefully and decisively... leaving the life of surrounding footness for a peaceful retirement in the rare air of the closet. Definitely a step up and honestly, who am I to slow them down?
From my perspective though, this creates a multifaceted problem. I can't just wear one sock while I still have two feet - that's ridiculous. I can barely get one foot into a sock, much less two. And even if I could somehow get both feet into a sock, that unholy joining would never fit into a human shoe... I wouldn't be able to tie it. And if through some improbable means I did tie my double footed, single socked and similarly single ill-fitting shoe... then I would have an extra shoe. That's a loser scenario if I've ever seen one.
I can't have all those extra shoes clogging up my house, I have too much to deal with as it is. There has to be another way.
It occurs to me at some point, that things in life eventually move on. Chapters close, friends move (or I do)... they take what socks are left with them... or circumstances bring a new job, a new relationship, a new role and a new challenge. It's hard to let go of the old and embrace the weighty moment of the new. Even if these things are good for us, sock-like transitions too often come with grief and a heaviness of heart. For socks are incredibly nostalgic, filled with woolen sentimentality, but when they transition to their metal and closeted haven in a grand metamorphic finale... what can I do but let them go?
Is there a lesson in the loss of socks? Probably not. Sometimes a sock is just a sock. Yet, in a fit of footishness, if we imagined that there were such a truth to be gained, what might it be? Not an actual parable related to socks to be sure, but just a hypothetical soulish, sockish turn?
As I listen, even the most beautiful song comes to an end. The most fulfilling and joyous love will finally close its eyes in death. The best and most heartfelt race finds its finish eventually. The best of conversations will talk themselves to unwording silence in the end. This doesn't diminish the beauty, or hinder the sweetness we cherish - it's just the nature of a fallen world. A world where socks dream of closets... and we of heaven... where things precious are no longer lost to us in irreplaceable ways. Could it be that the loss of socks, causes us to consider, in counterpoint... a stunning reversal... an unexpected happy ending... a place where socks are never lost?
If we follow, could it lead us to the possibility of a love that doesn't have to die and leave us here alone? Is there, at the end of all things, a virtue that doesn't fade? Is there an hypostatic glory to be seen and tracked to fill full the visage of these mortal eyes? Is there a sound of rushing waters, or a place of poignantly uttered words where chapters don't stop whispering to these aching mortal ears? Or if they do, could it be that they end perfectly as their notes resonate upon the thrumming of our hearts forever?
I hope so. Oh, I dearly hope so.
That would be a gospel worth living for wouldn't it?