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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)

TITLE: What's Uo With Socks?
By Angeline oppenheimer
09/17/08


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Do you have a spouse with a compulsion that drives you up the wall? Or make you want to pack your bag and disappear without a trace? You rather stay in a toilet booth (Spanky sounds good now) somewhere, anywhere and hide away while the compulsion waves are riding high?

My husband loves to hunt down socks. He looks for socks the first thing he steps into the house. Stray ones? Ones that look like cottage cheese. Or ones that sink. Ones missing a partner–one lone sock sitting forlorn? Well, invariably his eyes focus on any likeness of woolies that encase feet.

Next, the stock question. It never changes through the years and despite my plea, “What’s the deal with socks?’ he always asks,”Why are these socks lying here?”

Hello? If you have a child or two or more, the chances of socks decorating the confines of your house are almost 100 %. No exception–unless you have a special maid whose sole responsibility is picking socks up. From the sprawling floor of the family room to the tiny crevices of dark corners, socks make their appearance, invited or not. Since most of us live without the luxury of such personalized service, you just have to let the socks be. Right?

Apparently not in my household. My husband is bent on seeking the socks out. Poor things, what have they done to deserve this militant hunting down? All you socks, you have my sympathy. Personally, I could care less. There are more pressing things in life to worry about. Like drinking my tea and putting my legs up for a sanity moment.

So the standard argument in this house goes something like that?

What is this stray sock doing, lying here?

IDK (shrugs my shoulder)

Who left it here?

IDK ( roll my eyes)–ask Shaina. She was last seen with one purple sock.

I don’t understand. How can she run around with one sock and not know it?

IDK (hands up in frustration)–she’s only three. What do you expect?

Sometimes, this “sock” conversation can go on for a long time. Much ado about nothing? OK, something, but is it worth a whole conversation? What’s there to rationalize about socks? They are just socks, for crying out loud. Leave them alone. They do disappearing act, that’s what they do.

His sock pre-occupation doesn’t stop with interrogation. He goes on a hunt. Sometimes, he enlists the kids to help him in his “Operation Missing Socks” stint. Short of a marching order, the three of them comb the house, leaving no cushion unturned. In the quest for socks, my living room is now a Jega of strewn cushions. Down hallways, under beds, into the wild jungles of closets and the cobwebs of hidden corners-- perchance, a smart sock may be hiding—taunting, “You cannot find me.” That prospect is daunting for a perfectionist.

I say let the socks be. They are supposed to lounge around and remind people that life doesn’t always have to be perfect and rosy. Life can be messy and it’s quite alright. Life needs to be lived and enjoyed, socks or not. So what if your socks don’t match? So what if your house is littered with some runaway socks from feet of little people, who are too involved with life to notice that one foot is sockless?

Aha—I’m having a sock serendipity moment—stray socks or not, we can deal with life’s imperfections and irritations, even lack. Why? Because life is more than matching socks or keeping stock of them.

Not everyone holds this view. From the corner of my eyes, I see my husband fishing a sock out of the sandbox, eye it with great satisfaction and proceed to pull out the other matching half from his pocket. A smile stretches across his face, a huge crescent of jubilation. Like a child who has found the long lost toy, he puts the two socks together and raises his arms in triumph.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/18/08
I love your paragraph that begins, "Let the socks be." You've pointed out what's really important in life.
Anne Linington09/19/08
Maybe the guy needs counselling- is he a control freak, or has he had a significant loss that hasn't been addressed? I would want to delve deeper, but I understand the wfe's need to sound off. Life is to short to match up every pair of socks in a household with children.
Marlene Austin09/21/08
Unusual approach to the game of life. Keep writing. :)