What’s in Your Sock Drawer?
What’s in Your Sock Drawer?
Last week I was forced to perform the second most hideous chore of adulthood — sorting my clean socks from the laundry basket. Sock sorting is the second worst adult chore because hanging clothes is the absolute worst. The clothes are not the problem; the problem is coat hangers.
Coat hangers are unquestionably the spawn of Satan. You organize them neatly on the closet rod, reasonably spaced and with the hooks all facing the same way. Then, you return the next day only to find that during the night, the evil metallic worms have engaged in some sort of demonic mating ritual, twisting about one another, and becoming hopelessly interwoven. Trying to remove a single coat hanger, results in five of the snarled serpents leaping to the floor where at least one of them sinks its fang into your bare ankle while another lurks in the doorway, waiting to trip you and break your neck as you escape the closet from Hell.
But I digress. What I really wanted to talk about was sock drawers. If you’re anything like me, compressed into your sock drawer are seventeen white crew socks, nine black dress socks, eight brown dress socks, an indeterminate pile of those stupid neckless socks you wear in the Summer to look like you’re not wearing any socks (what’s the deal with that?) Oh, and a single rainbow-stripped toe sock left over from the pair your kids gave you for Christmas in 1983.
Five of the crew socks have holes in the toes. Two of the crew socks (one with toe-hole and one with virgin toe) have huge holes in the heels because they were worn outside without shoes. Of the brown dress socks, there are four different shades of brown, three different lengths, and some assorted holes. Of the black, supposedly matching socks, two have shrunk and one suffered an unfortunate encounter with bleach.
Needless to say, my sock drawer, and probably yours as well (even if you won’t admit it) is like a coffee can jam-packed full of live, wriggling, bait worms, struggling to escape and forestall their gruesome destiny.
Now that you have that mental image planted firmly in your mind, let’s talk about relationships. Relationships are just like the contents of our sock drawers. We have some that are in good shape, some with holes in them, a few sentimental ones like that ridiculous toe sock, and some that are starting to fray around the edges. We have a few like those useless half-socks that just need to be tossed into the trash can. We might even have some relationships like the orphan socks who lost their mates to the washing machine ogre. We’re the only person still involved in those relationships, but we just haven’t figured it out yet. Those too need to join the neckless half-socks.
This all came up because a friend of mine (we’ll call him “Señor P” for the sake of anonymity) recently confided in me about the rocky relationship he’s had with his sister since childhood. As an expert in this area, having been the youngest of five kids, with three much older sisters, I looked my friend in the eye and said in my most compassionate voice, “so”. After all, everyone knows that older sisters are the closest thing to a run-away atomic reactor – shiny and polished on the outside but a caldron of super-heated, irrational emotions approaching critical mass on the inside. In fact, they may even be where coat hangers originated, but that’s a whole different story.
Before y’all write me off as another chauvinist turd, please keep in mind that all normal women have similar attitudes towards their male siblings and those who claim they don’t are also burdened with compulsive dishonesty issues. Hence, the fact that Señor P’s sister never took the initiative to make nice with him. Anyway, to make a long story short, Señor P picked up the phone and called his sister and said something to the effect that “we’re both middle-aged now and I’d like to let youthful bygones be bygones … except for that time you kicked me in the crotch? I’m not forgetting that one!”
OK, OK, I added that last part for dramatic effect, but the point is, Señor P is cleaning out his sock drawer. He took the first step, even though it was uncomfortable, and there was a chance his sister could – emotionally if not literally – kick him in the crotch. Is it possible that many of us have some aging relationships that need darning? That process is destined to begin with an uncomfortable conversation, but somebody has to take the first step. Maybe we also need to reconsider what kind of emotional shoes would better protect our current relationships from the rough pavement of our society.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Just call me up and let’s have coffee. One last thing – if nobody calls me this week to discuss this story, next week I’m gonna write about my underwear drawer.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C.S. Lewis
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The Power of the Other
— Dr. Henry Cloud
If you’re one of those folks considering total annihilation of your sock drawer because relationships in the twenty-first century have just become too hard to maintain, read this book first. It might just open your eyes to the value of supportive relationship. It will also give you a really good measuring stick to evaluate which socks need to go in the fire barrel and which can be salvaged. This is one of my favorite books!
Is Reality Optional
— Thomas Sowell,
Senior Fellow, Hoover Institute
Few contemporary authors bring common sense, reason, and balance to their writing likeThomas Sowell. A brilliant economist and astute observer of culture, he’s been providing practical commentary on economics, politics, and society for more than half a century. Yeah, he’s old. That’s why he knows more than you or I and that’s why he’s worth reading. I strongly recommend this new collection of his essays.