Among life’s many imponderables, is the enduring mystery of the missing sock. We’ve all been there – loading the laundry, emptying the hamper, checking to make sure that you have not forgotten anything. BAM! Close the washing machine door, turn it on and whoosh! Sure enough, through the realms of space and time, at least one sock will disappear.  Never a pair. Just one.

There are many theories as to why this occurs: some think that it is mere human error – you didn’t put the other sock in the machine in the first place; others think that some kind of chemical reaction is created by the laundry process that turns random socks into dryer lint or (weirdly), extra tupperware lids in the cupboard (now there’s a stretch of the space/time continuum…)

After literally hours of research, risking life and limb, I believe that I have found the solution to this most perplexing of mysteries.  I was lucky enough to sit down with Bob E. Sox – one of the very few individuals to have made it back from The Other Side.  Mr Sox related to me, in sometimes harrowing detail, what happened to him one fateful laundry day morning.

  • Readers of a nervous disposition, are advised to read this account while sitting as far from the laundry room as possible, in full view of all exits.

lost sockEdited conversation between Bob E. Sox and Lucie Lastyk, Investigative Reporter for Good HomeMaking Weekly.

LL: “Thank you for agreeing to meet with me, Mr Sox.  Can I call you Bob?”

BS: “So long as I can call you Ms Lastyk.”

LL (smiles): “Of course! Now, Bob, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself prior to your traumatic experience?

BS: “Well, Ms Lastyk, I had been happily paired with my partner, Roberta, for as long as we could remember.  We were a very fine pair of grey cashmere blend ankle socks purchased, I believe, from Bloomingdales’ Mens Department.  We had been through many a laundry load together without incident and were sure that we would be bundled together until our ultimate unraveling many seasons in the future.

LL: “Can you pinpoint the moment during your last cycle together when you knew something was different?”

BS (shifts uncomfortably): “Well, my fibers began tingling when I realized that our usual facilitator had gotten sick and asked her husband to do the laundry for a change – I’m paraphrasing. He was haphazardly throwing all of us into the machine without care for color or category, and next thing I knew I was being soaked in very warm water instead of the usual lukewarm.” (pauses) “I also remember wondering if he had put us on high spin instead of regular. As it happened he had.”

LL (leans closer, speaking softer): ” I realize this must be very difficult for you Bob, but could you tell me in nauseating detail what happened next?”

socks-lost-in-the-dryerBS: “It all seemed to happen very quickly.  One minute I was being sloshed around with the others, the next I felt myself being sucked into a kind of whirlpool – which was odd as the machine was a GE – and then it all went black.  When I came to, I found myself in a dark, dank basket surrounded by hundreds of dingy-looking single socks who were swaying and chanting ‘Ommm.’  I looked wildly around me, hoping to see Roberta, or at least a familiar face, but, alas, no.  It was then that I knew that I had fallen through the Sock Vortex and was a prisoner of the Sock Fairy.”

LL (whispering): “Sock Fairy!  So the rumors are true? Did you meet her?”

BS: “Yes, Ms Lastyk, but the Sock Fairy is, in fact, a guy (audible gasp from LL); a huge, smelly creature with a beard like a rhododendron bush.  He has a pathological hatred of any kind of clean footwear and vows to end the practice of laundry by taking odd socks in the hope that People will stop washing them to maintain the pair.  He is good friends with the wild-haired witch who abducts bobby pins…”

LL (opening a bag of popcorn): “So what happened next?”

BS: “Well, I didn’t want to end up like the rest of them,  swaying and chanting like a bunch of yoga pants, so I summoned up the strength of every fiber of my being and demanded to see the manager; I am 80% cashmere, after all.  After what seemed like forever, the Sock Fairy agreed to  see me.  I have to tell you, Ms Lastyk, he was a smelly brute,” (shudders) “Breath like a pile of rotting fish heads, but he listened and agreed that I was not like the other socks, coming from a fine department store and all, and that he would consider my request.

Support tights. Bastard.

Support tights. Bastard.

I have to say though, that once the other socks learned that I been seen by the Sock Fairy, they got mighty testy with me. I was threatened with an unravelling by a bunch of mismatched sport socks and a particularly obnoxious Pilates sock.  Luckily,  I managed to avoid my undoing by telling off-color jokes about support tights.”

LL (burps): “Wow. Support tights. Who knew? So when did you realize that the Sock Fairy had let you go?”

BS: “Well, the first thing I felt was the same swirly, damp sensation as before, but instead of returning to my laundry basket, as I had hoped, I found myself surrounded by dust bunnies and lint.  I recognized the general landscape and realized that I was down the side of the Dryer.

LL: “No way! How long did you end up staying  there?”

BS: “I’m not sure, but by the time I was rediscovered, I was a shadow of my former self..darker and more opaque.”

LL: “And what of Roberta? What happened when you were reunited? Tears of joy?”

BS (sighing): “Alas no.  During our separation, she had decided that she no longer wanted to be part of a conventional pair of socks and had migrated to another drawer.  The last I heard, she was in a new relationship.”

LL: “OMG! Who with?”

BS: “Ironically, a pair of support tights…”

So there you have it, readers. Definitive proof that there is in fact, a malignant being, hell bent on rendering your sock drawer useless, or at least oddly proportioned.  If there is anything to take away from this harrowing tale, I believe it is that telling jokes can get you out of a tight spot, and that there’s no accounting for taste…

Lucie Lastyk. Jan. 20, 2016.