The Importance of Socks – Cedar Sanderson

*I”m going to be on later today, when I get home and my computer.  Considering this weekend, it’s possible I should NEVER vacation EVER again.

Sad news — besides France — RIP Matthew Benjamin Landry 1975-2015 — Matt was one of those fans who became a friend online and off line. I’m very glad I got to meet him in the flesh two years ago. He’s now gone beyond pain and beyond suffering, and for him it will be just a few moments before we meet again, but we will miss him.*

The Importance of Socks – Cedar Sanderson

And by socks, I mean the bits that are likely to get wet if you keep putting your mind down there in the gutter. Socks! Not sex! Although that’s important too, but it’s not what I was talking about.

I was thinking about this today as I dealt with a sock malfunction. I’d run out of clean socks… ok. Not out of socks. Out of my favorite socks, which meant I had to get into the second-string socks. And those socks, rather than holding my feet in a warm hug inside my boots, slipped down and left my heels freezing and clammy. It was a minor inconvenience – I had time in my day to go home and change my socks, but it got me thinking.

I’ve been in situations, a long time ago and far away, where warm dry socks were essential. Maybe not life or death, but certainly close. Hypothermia is not your friend, and I’ve been far enough into it often enough to know how fast it can happen. And that wet feet at the wrong time is a very bad thing. It’s not that I’m wedded to my socks. In the summer I run around happily in my bare feet. So maybe I overreact when my feet are cold and uncomfortable.

Or maybe not. These things are warnings for a reason. Like so much else in our lives, a thing that makes us a little uncomfortable and shift unconsciously from foot to foot… might be nothing. Or it could be a little precursor to a big problem. The trick is learning how to tell what is a real danger – being out in the woods a day’s hike from home, with no dry socks, below-55 deg F weather, rain… shivers. Brrrr…. And to learn what isn’t a real danger: half-off socks on campus ten minutes from home and a hot shower to warm all of you up.

Part of learning the difference is common sense. It’s clear that a tiny thing like, say, the statue of a guy in his underpants is not a threat. I mean, if I drove past it in the night I might do a double-take, or if I walked by it in the morning mist and it suddenly appeared it might make me jump. The first time. But it’s no harm. It’s not going to lurch into motion and grab me suddenly. It is, in short, socks that won’t stay up. Now, a real man in a real dark alley when I’m a young woman who’s been out clubbing and drunk too much? That’s a real threat. That is wet socks and no cover far from home and my own fault for not having packed an extra pair of socks and not put myself into that kind of danger with no backup.

Socks are a little thing. Learning how to tell what’s a big thing? That’s important. And it seems to be a skill that too many young people just aren’t learning. Perhaps because their parents never let them go camping in the wilderness, or at least not if it were going to rain. What kids need to learn is how to pack. They need to learn how to check the weather forecast. And maybe they need a parent who’s willing to give them socks for Christmas.

I give my kids socks for most Christmases. Usually, fuzzy fluffy slipper-type socks. The girls love those really fuzzy ones, the little man likes the kinds with superhero motifs on them. Of course, they get more than socks, but… But my dad, for several years running when I was a single parent, took it on himself to stuff my stocking at Christmas. I hung one for myself because the kids insisted, and I usually threw a couple of handfuls of candy in it while I was filling theirs. Dad would come in after I was through, and put socks in it for me. I loved those socks. Merino wool, warm, soft… every time I pulled them on it was like a hug from Dad. And it was one less thing I had to worry about in a worrisome time – I had warm feet.

When we’re under a lot of stress, those socks sliding down our feet can be the last straw. And it can be the little sort of thing that makes all the difference. The lifting of the last straw on the camel might be warm feet, or a full belly when your husband makes you eat an egg before you leave for that math exam, or the unexpected gift of a hand-drawn mother’s day card… without those pick-me-ups, the straw finally breaks the beast of burden to its knees, and getting up is harder than carrying on.

Most of us will go through a point where those socks, and warm feet, make the difference. I don’t know that Dad knew what he was really doing, with the socks in my stocking. I think he just wanted to give me something I couldn’t afford to indulge in myself at the time. But I’d like him to know they meant a lot. You know you’re not a kid anymore when you look forward to socks at Christmas… Who in your life is cold, and what’s a little thing you can do to warm them up? You never know what will help, and it’s not always the big things that you feel you can’t possibly do.

I know I get frustrated about the big things. But there are things in life that you just can’t fix. Oh, sure, when the front door isn’t latching properly and you can shim it up. Or when the child has fallen and scraped their knee and you can hug them, clean their wound, and send them back to playing. When there are no clean socks and you can do the laundry.

But the big things… when a loved one is ill. Or you’re in a situation where all you can do is wait for a resolution. Those, you can’t just fix. You can only ameliorate the pain of the time by doing the little things. Like making sure there are clean, warm socks. Or a casserole. Or walking the dog, or… the little things that can lift that last straw from the camel’s back.

I need to go do some laundry. Or I could steal a pair of my husband’s socks. I know he’d happily give me the last pair in his drawer – because he loves me, and that’s what you do when you love someone, you make sure the little things are right. But I won’t take his last socks. For one thing, I still do have socks. They are just ah, colorful and mostly thigh-high socks. Socks are a sign of the vast differences between men and women. I have my favorite wool socks, trouser socks, performing socks, footy socks… but him? See, like many men, my husband likes to have all his socks one color, one style, and then he never has to worry about that one sock that does go missing in the laundry.

I have a theory about those missing socks. We need to develop some kind of meta-tracker capable of piercing the quantum membrane, because you know those socks have found the parallel universe gate. All we have to do is track them through, and voila! We’ll have a way of getting there, too! So hold a warm, dryer-toasted sock in your hand, close your eyes, and walk forward, holding it out…

I kid! I kid! Socks are great, and important, and all, but they are hardly the answer to the mysteries of the universes!

261 thoughts on “The Importance of Socks – Cedar Sanderson

            1. My avatar (puppy before the current one) didn’t want me to leave the house for a while right after I got her, so she’d lie down on top of my shoes. I always put them on before I went out, so…..

              The first time I pulled another pair out of the closet, Fuzzy seemed to think I had cheated….. 😎

        1. For those of us allergic to wool, merino wool socks should contain ‘trigger warnings’… In fact just the mention of wool has reminded me of the horrible time at the Blarney Woolen Mill in Ireland where I was forced by my Family to try on a hand knitted, raw wool, seaman’s sweater (I was the same size as the friend we were buying it for). My neck immediately broke out in hives, and I had to take benydril to overcome it. I think I’m breaking out in a rash thinking about it…..
          Which brings to mind, are all the college ‘safe spaces’ filled with hypoallergenic versions? I also have a problem with feather-stuffed pillows. And peanut free? Of course!

          1. You have the perfect excuse to purchase silk socks. Like wool they will continue to keep your feet warm even when damp.

          2. Try alpaca socks, mohair socks or, as Cedar suggests, silk socks.
            Natural fibers do a much better job of wicking away moisture than any of the fake fibers, and in the winter, cotton just won’t do.

            1. For those who live in the Denver area (or visit it) and are interested, there is an Alpaca Store in Nederland. Roy, the owner, has his own herd, and has arrangements with Pendleton, local artisans, and groups in South America. The store carries everything alpaca from yarn to various finished goods, along with toys and ocarinas. Roy’s also a musician and a fun guy to talk with.

              I like to stop in whenever I’m in that area.

    1. Several years ago, when socks were becoming quite the rage among knitters, there was a rather nice book of patterns published with the title The Joy of Socks.

  1. Pingback: Cedar Writes
  2. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a very unevenly edited book
    and contains many passages that simply seemed to its editors like a
    good idea at the time.

    One of these (the one Arthur now came across) supposedly relates the
    experiences of one Veet Voojagig, a quiet young student at the
    University of Maximegalon, who pursued a brilliant academic career
    studying ancient philology, transformational ethics and the wave
    harmonic theory of historical perception, and then, after a night of
    drinking Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters with Zaphod Beeblebrox, became
    increasingly obsessed with the problem of what had happened to all the
    biros he’d bought over the past few years.

    There followed a long period of painstaking research during which he
    visited all the major centres of biro loss throughout the galaxy and
    eventually came up with a quaint little theory which quite caught the
    public imagination at the time. Somewhere in the cosmos, he said,
    along with all the planets inhabited by humanoids, reptiloids,
    fishoids, walking treeoids and superintelligent shades of the colour
    blue, there was also a planet entirely given over to biro life forms.
    And it was to this planet that unattended biros would make their way,
    slipping away quietly through wormholes in space to a world where they
    knew they could enjoy a uniquely biroid lifestyle, responding to
    highly biro-oriented stimuli, and generally leading the biro
    equivalent of the good life.

    I think washing machines/dryers have a wormhole to the sock equivalent

    1. Ah, that’s the Brit version of the text? I’ve read that, except that “biro” was translated to “ballpoint.”

      When I was younger I was baffled by a kid-mystery with a UK origin. Any darkness was dealt with by using a torch – which to me meant a big stick with an open flame somehow maintained on the end. That didn’t seem quite right at all given the rest of the situation. It was years before I found that ‘torch’ was ‘flashlight’. Then there are things a pot plant being a potted plant and not a source of THC, and an electric fire not being an electrical fire but a heater. I’d like to think I finally have things about right, but I know that not to be true as I still get some surprises from time to time. Fortunately they have all been the type where I go “What the…?” in private.

      1. I never thought about that. Seeing as I grew up in the UK and heard the original radio dramas, it never occurred to me that they’d get translated when they crossed the pond.

        But I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that they did

      2. Same here. Plus “electric torch” in some older books, which I visualized as some sort of tiki lamp…

      3. Ah, yes, just yesterday The Spouse and I were discussing with some friends the problem created by ‘two great nations divided by a common language.’

        From the site English Language & Usage:

        What is the origin of the phrase “two nations divided by a common language”?

        I have seen it attributed to Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and even Winston Churchill.

        The most likely looking source I found said:

        ‘Was it Wilde or Shaw?’ The answer appears to be: both. In The Canterville Ghost (1887), Wilde wrote: ‘We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language’. However, the 1951 Treasury of Humorous Quotations (Esar & Bentley) quotes Shaw as saying: ‘England and America are two countries separated by the same language’, but without giving a source. The quote had earlier been attributed to Shaw in Reader’s Digest (November 1942).

      4. I did a few doubletakes with my first car’s manual, an elderly MGB. Lifting the bonnet to check the carburetters was fine, but taking down the hood and sticking it in the boot was a jolt.

      1. Most of us don’t/didn’t know that Biro made the first successful ballpoint pens; (Wikipedia) László Bíró, a Hungarian newspaper editor frustrated by the amount of time that he wasted filling up fountain pens and cleaning up smudged pages, noticed that inks used in newspaper printing dried quickly, leaving the paper dry and smudge free. He decided to create a pen using the same type of ink.[4] Bíró enlisted the help of his brother György, a chemist,[4] to develop viscous ink formulas for new ballpoint designs.[3]

        Bíró’s innovation successfully coupled ink-viscosity with a ball-socket mechanism which act compatibly to prevent ink from drying inside the reservoir while allowing controlled flow.[4] Bíró filed a British patent on 15 June 1938.[1][13]

        In 1941, the Bíró brothers and a friend, Juan Jorge Meyne, fled Germany and moved to Argentina, where they formed Bíró Pens of Argentina and filed a new patent in 1943.[1] Their pen was sold in Argentina as the Birome (portmanteau of the names Bíró and Meyne), which is how ballpoint pens are still known in that country.[1] This new design was licensed by the British, who produced ballpoint pens for RAF aircrew as the Biro. Ballpoint pens were found to be more versatile than fountain pens, especially at high altitudes, where fountain pens were prone to ink-leakage.[4]

          1. You ever try impressing a five-layer self-carbonizing form with a pencil?

            Besides, everybody knows real men do their crosswords in ink.

    2. I think washing machines/dryers have a wormhole to the sock equivalent

      The old “Ask Dr. Science” column by one of the Duck’s Breath Mystery Theater guys referenced the interdimensional capabilities of washers and dryers in response to the question, “Why don’t you ever see baby pigeons?”

      The answer involved lost socks being converted into adult pigeons via said capabilities.

  3. More seriously I do think a lot of people seem to have a problem telling whether a problem is loose socks irritation or some kind of existential threat (Pro-tip: it usually is irritation not an existential threat) and thus react inappropriately.

        1. It is usually quite benificially traumatic to discover that the world does NOT revolve around you. Most people learn this gradually between the ages of 2 and 7 and most of those regress a little bit in the teen years and have to be taught again. It is this latter re-teaching that seems to be going awry.

          1. Some never learn. I’ve had two recent conversations about talking in foreign languages. The big objection: They’re talking about me! Right. As if people don’t have better things to do than talk about YOU.

              1. Now you can tell her:

                “No, Mom, we are not talking about you, but back home there are people you don’t even know talking about you on the internet.”

                Hope that helps.

                  1. I wonder how google translate works translating English to Portuguese? I know I get some interesting results translating other languages to English, and it doesn’t recognize Afrikaans as a language at all.

                    1. In John Barnes’ “Washington’s Dirigible” –

                      Chrys’s voice came over the speakers. “So, ready to zoom-bang?”

                      The autotranslators embedded as chips in our heads were a constant source of amusement; they allowed her to speak her native Arabo-Polynesian, and me to speak English, and us to understand each other–but words and expressions that didn’t exist in the other’s language tended to come through in a very strange fashion. From talking with her before, I knew what she had said was the equivalent of “Ready to party?” so I said, “Let’s blow this Popsicle stand, dudette.” From the shriek of laughter I figured her translator had come up with something interesting.

            1. That is absurd — they were talking about me, even if they didn’t realize it. I’ve witnessed this; everybody’s always talking about me but they always do it indirectly, pretending to talk about their Aunt Suzie or Uncle Arthur or some politician, all as code for talking about me.

              I know this because the quiet voices in my head tell me it is so, and they never lie to me.

              Well, there was that one time, but he deserved what happened anyway.

            2. I know at least one person who has been in line in the store many times when a couple of guys were speaking Mexican Spanish and they were, indeed, talking about her. Rather rudely.

              1. Years ago I heard a story (some radio program?) that a businesswoman, who spoke English and seemingly only English was travelling to/in the Philippines, and the guys who were driving her (why two? No idea.) from the airport to the hotel were talking about her in a most unacceptable way (“Whose bed toy is this?” is close enough). Upon arriving at her destination she told them their conversation was most rude, and they talked themselves out of any tip – in Tagalog.

                1. Yeah. I once sat in front of a pair of German guy tourists in a city bus and heard myself discussed… in interesting ways. So when I got up, I asked them — in German — what their mothers would think of their conversation.
                  Left two very large, very red twenty-something guys behind as I flounced out of the bus. 😛

            3. For a number of years I was involved with a circle of Japanese ladies. They would often sit in a circle on the floor chattering away, smiling and nodding at each other, sometimes glancing my way. I usually dismissed this as none of my business, but occasionally those glances cause me to think they were discussing me.

              One day the senior one of these ladies stopped the conversation and looked me in the eye. She told me that while, yes, they might be talking about me, I shouldn’t worry about what they were saying about me, so long as they were still smiling.

              Having grown up with a southern grand dame for a grandmother I have always wondered about that assurance.

      1. That’s the thing about the worst thing in the world being subjective: If the worst thing in the world that happened to you was wet socks on your way to class and the worst thing in the world that happened to someone else was being maimed, if you truly believe in the religion of subjectivity, the two are equal.

        Thus we get the whiners complaining that the murder and maiming of innocent people by terrorists in France is stealing attention away from their stompy-foot temper tantrums on college campuses. They don’t get that the rest of the world sees them more as toddlers bawling because they can’t have candy for breakfast, not Brave Culture Warriors valiantly fighting the Evul Oppressors Of All That Is Good and Diverse.

        1. On the other hand, we do get people who go around pouring water on people’s socks and get huffy at the notion that they shouldn’t — after all, people are being maimed, why are you pothered about this?

          1. I am not so much bothered by people “pouring water” on my socks as by their insistence that it is raining.

        2. Demmed insensitive of those ISIS basterds, intruding on their tantrum. As if ISIS’s demands were one whit as important as the need for students to feel accepted!

          From the National Post’s Rex Murphy

          The most recent reports say there is a crisis in child services in the United States. The cost of daycare spaces has reached absolutely astronomic levels. Placement at the University of Missouri, for example, easily breaks the $40,000 threshold. And if your toddler is lucky enough to squeeze into Yale, which has some of the most craven caregivers, the most swaddled cocoons and safe spaces on the continent, it will set you back a minimum $60,000. But hey, if you want the very best day care for the intellectually infantile at any of the top Institutes of Higher Whining, that’s why God gave you noses — so you could pay through them.

          HT: Power Line

          1. BTW – Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff offers a possible explanation for the agita disrupting student minds: it is a consequence of Affirmative Action:

            “Mismatch” refers to the fact that, due to aggressive race-based admissions preferences, many African-American college students fall short of the white students with whom they attend school in terms of the credentials most closely associated with academic success — high school performance and SAT scores. As such, they are less likely to succeed academically than their white counterparts. Through no fault of their own, they are running uphill (to the extent they choose to run).

            Exams are the main mechanism that, in many classes, separates high performing students from average and poor performing ones. Studying is an important mechanism through which highly capable students convert their potential into high performance.

            Most colleges do what they can to reduce and mask the disparity between the performance of affirmative action admittees and their better-credentialed peers. Grade inflation means that below average performers can still get decent-sounding grades. Courses in which little more than mastery of politically correct jargon can yield an A or A-minus are offered. On a more salutary note, tutoring and writing assistance are available.

            In the end, however, students admitted due to racial preferences surely understand that they are at a competitive disadvantage. This realization is likely to have adverse psychological consequences for some.

              1. Oh, Asian students aren’t a problem… The Universities do everything in their power to under-represent them and demean their academic excellence. Although, some of the idea that Asian’s are so outstanding may also come from the part that to be accepted as an Asian, means you scored as high above whites in the real metrics of academic merit as the whites do above the affirmative placements.

                1. Yes, I know. Affirmative Action was one of the first issues that moved me away from standard lib/prog political views.
                  But wrt the post, I was thinking it might explain some of the animus against the Asian student reporter.

                  1. In the world of “Identity Politics”, Asians are considered “White”.

                    Especially since, as a group, they don’t think of them as “needing” help and are willing to work hard for what they get.

                    1. As if we needed further proof of the insanity of identity politics. In fact, though, it’s harder to get into certain colleges / fields if you are Asian than if you are white. Makes up for all those “privileged” Chinese railroad workers, I guess.

                    2. For a time my primary care physician was Korean — born there, emigrated to here. I found a certain perverse amusement in calculating the probability he was likely better than the other doctors in his class at med school, having to pass through a finer sieve to get there.

                    3. After I first saw the term “non-Hispanic white” I figured the shark had well and truly been jumped.

                      The Fed not only has some really strange ideas about race, language, and culture, but they seem to be flexible according to circumstance.

                      Screw it. Down here in Dixie, we only recognize three kinds of people – “us,” “damnYankees,” and “them.”

                    4. Who said anything about “hopeless”?

                      I’m just sick-and-tired of the Stupidity.

                      Of course, I just got though listening to an idiot on the Bar who apparently believes that Conservative Christians are would-be Totalitarians so I’m fighting a “piss-off” attitude. [Sad Smile]

                  2. I was watching a vid on youtube and the unseen commenter called John Stewart an Affirmative Action Lantern.

                    1. I have read critiques of the racial composition of the cast of Absolute Justice by Jim Krueger even though that series was strictly and rigorously bound by DC’s Silver Age universe.

                    2. Stewart may have been picked for his race but he seems well qualified for his job as a Lantern: he is a former Marine. Unfortunately too many comics seem taken with the idea of being “relevant” rather than just interesting.

        3. How in the world can someone not understand the seriousness of an attack that left hundreds dead and wounded? Can their bubble wrap be that thick, and their solipsism that great, that they only see themselves?

          1. Yes. And their solipsism is so great they don’t get what sort of impression they are making by their saying so.

          2. Quite simply, yes, in fact they are that self centered.
            You see they’ve been taught through narrative and example for their entire lives that they are “special” people. So their perception is that the world really does revolve around them.
            And when the real world deigns to actually notice the poor fools, hilarity naturally ensues.

          3. In fairness and again, Missouri is not far from Oklahoma and Arkansas. Both states saw a comparable number of minorities murdered by Democrats a hundred years back. What Oklahoma and Arkansas Democrats have done in terms of admitting that they chose evil, and preventing themselves from doing it again is blame Republicans.

            There are reasons why certain minorities in the area have legitimate grounds to sense potential for danger.

            The Indian wars were many generations ago. If the US is too big to know or care about, the most recent local threatening incidents would have been internal. A rational assessment of those would require knowing local history. (I hear that Tulsa was spooked for at least sixty years after the event, but that very few would speak of it, and not in public.)

          4. For many, the bubble wrap is only penetrated when a similarly serious event happens to themselves or a close friend. The empathy imbalance between those who become progs and those who become conservatives is large…and growing.

                1. Curse, you, WP! And curse you again, thrice damned app!

                  See report of Black students protesters at Dartmouth invading the library Thursday 11/12/15 and accosting white (and other) students attempting to study, demanding they “stand in solidarity” and using threatening, racist, and obscene language.

                  The author of the above comment acknowledges some small culpability in the mal-editing that resulted in flawed postings but maintains the core problem lies with forces outside of personal control.

                  WP Delenda Est!

          5. It’s all TV to them. Doesn’t matter if it’s live video of terrorists in France, a documentary on Dachau, or some superhero anime.

            “Their minds were the zen of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

      2. I don’t know if it’s what we called “hot house plants,” or narcissism, or bullies who’ve never been opposed, or all three. Hot house plants tend to be fragile because they’ve never been exposed to the elements, and have to be “hardened” before transplanting. But hot house plants wouldn’t complain about Paris stealing the attention, and tend to whine more than bully.

            1. Could be worse, a closed single casket containing two (who are actually in a small box … an acquaintance lost a wife and child to a crash and fire that left little to bury)

  4. Aaand this reminds me I need to go sock shopping. Although it probably won’t get done any time soon, because it is getting that time of year when I switch to wearing wool socks all the time, and I have plenty of nice warm wool socks still. But my good cotton socks are starting to get rather scarce, so three or four days after doing the laundry, I am stuck with those pairs that will not stay up.

    And those socks better beware, because a)I despise socks that won’t stay up, and b)they make good rags after you split them from top to toe.

    1. REI is having a sale on SmartWool through the 23rd. Yes, I have a list already made. Yes, they are $$. Yes, they will last for years of regular wear. Yes, I’m Odd.

        1. Oh, does she have some of those ones that look like a colorblind Navajo on too much peyote darned them? Those seem to have the biggest discounts.

      1. I loved Liz Claiborne when I was working. The lined wool pants were $80 (1995) but I wore them for 10 years! I worked in a mall and took the bus everywhere. Point being real Quality if you can afford it will last a very long time. I’ve done the same with sweaters and shoes.

        1. Oh yes. I have a Lands End wool blazer that’s going on 20 years and looks new. Navy blue single-breasted jackets never go out of style.

                1. Insert long drawn-out story about the caterpillar who was so very much looking forward to maturing into a beautiful butterfly, who who emerged from her chrysalis as a rather drab moth. She didn’t know it until the first time she saw herself in a mirror, and then she wept uncontrollably—

                  Have you ever seen a moth bawl?

          1. Filson, when you have to have the best. Ok, I don’t believe their motto is completely true, but they are definitely up their in the top percentiles, and they do last. Unfortunately I need to replace the last couple of original buttons on my wool mackinaw, because they have become brittle with age and when I went to button it the other day… well I didn’t know I was strong enough to crush buttons between my fingers.

        2. Cue the Terry Pratchett quote where Sam Vimes muses about poor people’s boots that wore out in a year, vs. rich people’s boots that cost ten times as much but lasted for fifty years.

          1. The problem is coming up with that initial outlay — and then being willing to ignore changes in fashion and keep wearing the good items in which you have invested.

          2. Then, it’s revealed later that he prefers the cheap boots because the soles are thin and he can feel the cobblestones. Since he can recognize his location in the city by feel.

      2. And I checked, there is an REI only 65 miles from me, I haven’t been in an REI store in at least twenty years. Socks are one of those things I have to check out in person. I don’t think I have ever mail ordered socks without first checking them out, that I didn’t end up either totally unsatisfied, or giving them away. Maybe I’m just picky. 😦

    2. Thanks to a birthday, Christmas, and Father’s Day, I don’t have to buy socks. These are work socks, of course, which steel toe boots seem to devour. Come to think of it, my dress socks were Christmas presents, too.

    3. I’ve always had big calves, making it hard to find socks that will go over them (I don’t like crew cut). However, having now developed a tendency to swell at the ankles, I have changed to socks that will not only go over my calves, but will stay up all day.

      Only drawback is the cost of $6-$8/pair.

  5. Zelazny explained this in his final book “Lord Demon”. There is indeed a universal plane of lost socks (although sometimes a sweater or similar knitted item would leak through). A very peaceful place, compared to the plane where lost coat hangers go. (Sure, you have all noticed the closet that you thought had a few missing hangers.)

    1. If we could harvest the plane of missing coat hangers, we could keep our cars repaired forever!


  6. More to the point of Cedar’s post: I think we have lost the idea of self-reliance as a useful personality trait.
    I did go camping as a child, and sometimes, it is your turn to haul the water back to camp, there are assigned tasks to setting and breaking camp. Recognize that some things you do you may not like, but only by sharing the drudgery can you share the pleasure and excitement of exploring new areas. When I was 12, the family took a cross-country camping trip for 5 weeks. Virginia to California and return via Yellowstone. It was a wonderful Family time.
    Really, it is the giving and caring that matter more than what color the socks are. And the experiences to really understand that the little things sometimes are the most important part. Often, we can’t do what we want, so do what we can. Nothing heals better than “I love you”. Those were the last words my Mother spoke to me on this Earth. That message will sustain me until I meet her again on the other side of the veil.

  7. It is, in short, socks that won’t stay up.

    And, happily, I found that there is an old tried and true solution to that problem, which fell out of fashion and is now largely forgotten. They are called garters, or if you are inclined to think in more of an English English vernacular: braces. I manufactured some to wear with some lovely knee-high heavy weight ragg wool socks. This solved their proclivity to want to slouch down the leg and bunch uncomfortably around the feet. They now they work perfectly to keep my feet, ankles and calves warm and comfy – even when damp.

    One of the problems we are now facing is that society decided to forget about teaching all sorts of skills and attitudes that we once took for granted. We once taught that true worth arose from our inner-self, the choices we made and how we lived. While the expressed opinions of the fools might be inflammatory, they were of no value or substance and should be treated as no more than hot air. Sadly a growing population of precious snowflakes who, lacking the kind of backbone provided by such concepts, seem to melt into paroxysms of offense at the first hint of a warm breeze out of anyone’s mouth.

        1. At least 1/2 the guy’s leg could have been cropped from the picture, and the utility of the product still would be well realized.
          I think I will get a pair for the next time I fly, I’m sure the TSA will be excited about metal parts mid-calf.

            1. Those are dandy, right up to the point when the sock-clasp slips loose and the elastic recoil smacks you in the shirt-tail.

            2. BTW, there are similar devices offered to counter the proclivity of fitted sheets to lose their grip under the mattress:

              Available from under $8 the set.

              1. I had/tried some of these for waterbed sheets. Did not work at all. C-clamps to the bedframe work better, but tended to rip the sheets. I finally decided just to become one with the plastic mattress.

            3. Do officers in the navy still wear tie pins and collar clasps? I mean the thing that attaches to the collar points on your shirt and keeps them flat?

      1. Yes, they do. Ones used with men’s dress wear can be obtained, although they can be difficult to find and are usually pricey. Garters are also made for use by reenactors. Meanwhile there are a number of women who find stockings more comfortable than pantyhose, so there continues to be a market for garters outside of the varieties made for play.

        1. They shouldn’t be hard to make, though, if one is moderately handy with needle and thread, or a sewing machine. I’ve made stretch-waist pants for my wife, and they aren’t hard to do.

          1. I’ve made gaiters, but never garters. Of course while gaiters are a standard part of my winter wear, I’ve never worn a pair of garters.

      2. My ankle holster has a garter above my calf to hold it up off my shoe. It’s an oddball; most people seem to be fine with a holster trying to push their shoe off when they walk.

        I also went to “braces” a few years ago to hold my pants up. Unfortunately they look a little odd; I wear them under my shirt, since if I wear a tucked-in shirt my pants fill up with sawdust when doing carpentry…

    1. There is a large extant literature extolling and exemplifying those old skills and attitudes, which (due to modern-lit demands to ignore history) is free to be mined, refined, and used in new works. I.e. classic ideas and phrases to the fore!

  8. When I buy socks I buy a big batch of identical socks and throw away all my old socks at the same time. That way I can just dump all socks in my sock drawer without matching them, and later when I pull a couple of socks out to wear they will necessarily match.

      1. Identical socks have the advantage of never finding yourself in a meeting, glancing down to realize you pulled one black and one navy blue from the drawer in the dim light of morning before your eyes had fully wakened.

        1. Another old fashioned habit — be prepared.

          To allow for full automaton mode in the morning consider choosing your clothes the night before, particularly when you have an important event the next day.

          1. Well, Fudge. This was supposed to start at 36min 24sec., where Mr. Gilbreth is doing time motion studies on his own morning dress routine to shave seconds off of it.

          1. Less effectively than you might think.

            Having a conveniently located high-intensity full-spectrum lamp is the surest protection.

            Or a spouse who a) is not semi-colourblind and b) not possessed of a low and base sense of humour.

      2. Hanes crew socks with the reinforced heel and toe in the six pair packs. Used to buy black dress socks the same way, but now in retirement I no longer have the need. I do keep a couple pair of heavy wool hunting socks around for really chilly days, but this is Alabama, so they seldom get much use.

    1. Way back when I helped my Chief load his stuff aboard before a patrol. I noted he had a shitload of socks, way more then anyone else packed. His reason? He was tired of the laundry losing his socks, so he wore a pair until he couldn’t stand them, threw them away, and started on a new pair.

  9. … the statue of a guy in his underpants is not a threat.

    Maybe … and maybe he’s a new variant of Weeping Angel, waiting for you to glance elsewhere?

    1. Requiring every single person to appraise whether he’s a threat is a nuisance. Exactly what counter-balancing benefit does the statue bring?

      1. Oh, don’t get me wrong – weighed on artistic merit, I don’t see what value the statue has, and it’s stupid-looking. But viewing it as an actual threat is ridiculous.

            1. Two actually. Of course, the one between his legs scares the CryBullies more than the other weapon. [Very Very Big Evil Grin]

              1. And for these new self appointed arbiters of what is correct for all the application of a simple fig leaf will not suffice. 😦

        1. Weighted on artistic merit, I don’t see the value in much of what claims to be ‘art’ in the last 50 years. And the really good stuff is looked down at by the art-snobs.

        1. Yes. The world is NOT a safe place. It never has been. It never will be.

          This may be a hard and unpleasant fact to accept, but it is an important lesson to learn. It will continue to be true no matter how hard you stick your head in an ostrich’s hole or thrust your fingers in your ears and try to pretend otherwise. Pretending otherwise only serves to make the world more dangerous, not less.

          1. But I want the world to be a safe space!!! If G-d cannot or will not make the world a safe place then that means there can be no G-d and I (but not you) can do as I wish.

        2. Actually, when I was a college student (and a lib/prog), I thought the world was far more dangerous than it really was / than I think it is now. I think that’s still true for college students today. Hence the inflated claims about “rape culture” etc. This combines with an exaggerated desire for safety and the fears generated by feeling powerless (learned helplessness) to fuel this craziness.

          1. I learned very early as a young girl that the world was not a safe place i.e. lived in the country, etc. etc. in bear country. I found that coming to more urban areas… meant the predators changed. … which is why situational awareness is so important.

            1. The year I was young we lived for a time in a suburban neighborhood on the train line just outside of Philadelphia. We learned that there are predators there as well. There was a period where no one allowed their children to go to the park without adult accompaniment because some girls had been attacked.

      2. It is Modern Art. It helps uglify the campus. What more benefit could one demand?

        Although, given the particular campus in question it might have been more appropriate to commemorate by depiction a “walk of shame.”

        1. It would have been much funnier to sneak out at night and dress the statue in various outfits (a la goose lawn ornaments) than to complain about it. But SJWs have no sense of humor or fun, so I’m sure it never occurred to them.

            1. Remember the stink the Left and the MSM made about 15 years ago when Attorney General Ashcroft covered the naked statues at Justice?

                1. So, to the Left, Ashcroft screening off naked statues is bad, and semi-naked statues are also bad. Is there anything they won’t whine about?

              1. First:
                “the stink the Left and the MSM made”

                and? The Department of Redundancy Department notes that you have defined a set and a subset.

                “when Attorney General Ashcroft covered the naked statues at Justice”

                Especially cruel of him as they had been having such fun deliberately framing shots of him to ensure those statues dominated the imagery.

                1. Come now, only 97% of the MSM are of the Left.

                  And those naked statues were more photogenic than Ashcroft. I’m sure that was why they were using them to frame the shots of him.

                  And if you believe that was why they were doing it, have I got a deal for you! One bridge, somewhat used, but with a very nice view of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Able to withstand an entire circus marching across.
                  What, not in your price range?

                  Well, we’ve got a smaller version handy, slightly older but a little less expensive, with great views of Cincinnati, OH and Newport and Covington, KY. Shakes a little when the cars drive over, but you can’t have everything. Adjacent to good food and entertainment.

              2. Sean, Other, one (1) each, I read it was one of his assistants, not Ashcroft, and Ashcroft had it uncovered.

                1. Could be. If so, it was one of those details that didn’t come out until after the furor had died down, likely in some brief story only covered by some of the media, and to which they didn’t draw much attention to.

        1. You do realize that your plan requires one to stare at an ugly statue of a man in tighty-whities? I’m pretty sure that being zapped back in time would be preferable.

    1. I am pondering becoming a Dr. Evil type to straighten out some priorities. “For every unthwarted terrorist attack on Civilization, I will raise global temperatures 1 degree C. If such attack is unanswered, 2 degrees.”

              1. See (or hear) Tom Smith on that. Rocket Ride:

                Give me a villain with style and grace
                And a little bit of fencing skill
                They used to be angular, sneering, and bald
                If someone got killed even they were appalled
                They tried to marry the heroine
                No thought of rape
                And they sure as Hell knew how to wear a cape!

                I am disqualified for lack of angularity, not being bald, and having no fencing skill. Also I have this issue with the whole evil thing.

                1. I have learned to live with being evil. I walk my own walk and think my own thoughts, I insist that X is X and Y is Y and surgical alterations cannot change one to the other. I think people are individuals, not members of some assigned caste or class, and they’re responsible for their thoughts and actions. I think stories should be fun and “edifying” only en passant, if at all.

                  These days that seems held to be more evil than plotting world domination or even beheading someone.

  10. And, on the topic of socks, every few years I get a new batch of mostly-Merino wool socks from Costco, four pairs for $12. They stay up, are comfy, and last five or six years (I have some that old that, while getting a little thin in the heel, still don’t have any holes). Good value for the price. I don’t have a Costco card, and the nearest store is two hours drive away (which is WHY I don’t have a card), but every so often one of my friends goes and I send money for socks with them. It works.

    1. We’re two hours away from Costco (well, we’re an hour away from most everything in Deepest Oregon), so we do stockup trips every couple of months. The store is used to people like us, so they don’t bat an eye when we roll up with a cart and a 6-wheel flat. OTOH, we marvel at people who walk out with one or two things. [grin]

      1. I have long said that Costco needs an express lane at the check-outs for those of us who pop in after work (office is just across the street) for milk and cat food.

        1. Their current situation encourages more purchases to better amortize the opportunity cost represented by the long checkout times.

    2. I have a long running feud with Costco, and refuse to shop there. I do like their coffee enough to have someone else pick it up for me, when they go, however.
      I have some of those socks you mention, in fact I am currently wearing a pair. A lot of people like them, but I don’t really, they are too thin for real wool socks, and too short for the tall boots I like to wear. Since my winter boots are fitted to thicker socks the Costco socks are relegated to spring and fall wear, when something more than a cotton sock is desired, or summer wear when my cotton socks are all in the dirty clothes. Unfortunately they are still shorter than I prefer, so they have lasted me a very long time.

    3. free45, my renegade big-toe nails go thru, and the sox wear thin behind my heel and under it, but they do last a goodly while.

  11. I find it amusing that Cedar is writing about socks considering the brand I get from BassPro is “RedHead”. LOL!

  12. Black socks, they never get dirty,
    The longer you wear them the stronger they get.
    Sometimes I think I should wash them,
    But something inside me says No, no, not yet.

    1. Kinda like why I had grey bath towels during college. 😉 Which Sib poached and used for another 8 years before they finally were relegated to pet bedding by now-Sib-in-Law.

  13. “Now, a real man in a real dark alley when I’m a young woman who’s been out clubbing and drunk too much? That’s a real threat.” — No, a real man would be protective, maybe call you a cab. Given the level of “skeer’ of all men inculcated in young women, it’s hard to do much more than that.

    1. She’s been out drinking, presumably she’s an adult. She’s alone, that’s her decision, along with choosing to get drunk.

      In the interest of egalitarianism, she can either call her own cab or sleep in the alley with the rest of the drunks.

  14. bought a bag o’ socks saturday. wore a set to work today, first time any of them have been on. Mistake.
    daamned things won’t stay up.
    I hate that. I’ll have to only wear them when wearing my one pair of oxfords and on pair of low cut Joe Rocket riding shoes. everything else I have, work boots, riding boots and off work Doc Martin’s are high pull on or side zip 8 to 12 inches high.
    Socks can be annoying and a distraction when they don’t fit right.

    1. This was part of the reason sock knitting became such a thing. Once you had worn a pair of custom fit socks made from a comfy yarn it can be hard to go back to the mass produced ones.

  15. Due to a family emergency one summer, it was days before I could take off my shoes, and by the time I could bath and change clothes, the socks weren’t salvageable. The shoes weren’t either. Fortunately they were cheap tennis shoes.

    1. Well, I (for one) was attempting to maintain the high-class moral tone this venue aspires to and therefore was resisting the impulse to darn socks, dang socks, or even to consarn socks.

      But now that’t you’ve opened your potty mouth I expect there’ll be no end of such language.

    2. buying new socks is cheaper than darning the old ones. However I wish I knew how to darn socks because hubby wears expensive graduated support socks.

      1. I’ve done it with small holes and regular thread. I think you’re supposed to use a type of yarn. A properly darned sock or sweater supposedly requires a regular needle; a darning needle, thread, yarn, and something to stretch the fabric. There’s a thing called a darning egg, but some claim to have used tennis balls or an old incandescent bulb (I’m not game on the latter – too breakable). FWIW, I stretch it with the fingers of one hand, but maintaining tension can be a pain.These were for small holes in the toes of my socks, anyway.

        First you stretch out the spot you’re working on and trim away the loose threads. Then, with regular needle and thread, you secure the fabric around the edge of the hole, maybe with an overhand stitch over the end, just enough to keep it from fraying. Then you thread yarn through the darning needle and start to weave across the hole. Once you’ve done one direction, you rethread the darning needle and weave through the stitching at a 90 degree angle.

        That’s it. I’ve secured it with knots, but this is supposed to be a no-no, since this can cause blisters. The correct way is to leave a long enough tail that you don’t need to tie a knot, and trim.

        BTW, I’ve done a similar technique making book bags last until the end of school where fabric has pulled away in spots.

      2. There are numerous videos tutorial available online, this is the introduction to the series on sock darning from knitpicks:

        There are many others out there, some better than others, just do a search for how to darn a sock.

        1. There is the place, Hell, MI. It’s not much more than a ‘tourist trap’ but I did make a point of going there once and getting a shirt proclaiming the visit. Now if someone tells me to “Go to Hell” I can truthfully reply, “Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.”

    3. I’ve tried, but the wear spots are generally high-pressure areas, and putting a seam across that makes the sock very uncomfortable.

      If my feet were freezing I might wear darned socks, but blisters from going sockless would be preferable to wearing them otherwise.

  16. *glances up at ceiling* Squall line’s punching through. Thanks be for hail guards and heavy windows. The twisters are all to the east. (Kind thoughts for the folks in Groom, Pampa, and other towns would be appreciated.)

      1. We’re good in Plano, although there was a tornado warning around 0345.

        The sirens outside didn’t wake us up; fortunately we have a canine auxiliary siren who howls along with them. 😉

        1. Made for a wet and windy ride into work this AM. I should have left 15 minutes before I planned to. Then I would have gotten to work just before it hit. Instead I left the front edge pass by and left in the lull. 10 minutes after opening the doors at work it hit again.
          Oh, I’m on the other side of DFW in Alvarado, and work in Mansfield (at least until they relocate me job to Wisconsin)

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