February 25, 2020

Article at respectnews.ca

The economy of the sock drawer

Our masthead on this page identifies me as editor and publisher. It doesn’t mention my other important role on the Respect staff: paperboy.

(This column is about socks, by the way. It will take us a while to get there…)

Every other Tuesday when Respect comes out, I saddle my horse and deliver papers to our retail outlets in Cold Lake, Bonnyville, St. Paul, and Elk Point. Over the next few days I get out to those communities again, dropping off sample copies to storefront businesses.

Since we’re a biweekly, I end up playing a game of roulette with the winter weather. I’m not on the road every week, so I don’t get to sample everything winter has to offer—it’s hit-and-miss. And this winter has actually been quite good. I think I’ve had to wear my parka for deliveries only two or three times since the start of November.

I know spring will come in fits and starts, but it’s reasonable to think I only have one or two winter deliveries to go. Then maybe one or two deliveries in slush or rain before the warm weather arrives.

I’m a summer person, and all winter long I look forward to the great luxury of being outside in shirtsleeves. It’s a simple thing, really, but it’s a pleasure I don’t take for granted.

I don’t wear shorts; I never have, I don’t know why. And I don’t wear sandals—I like the secure feeling I get from walking in socks and shoes.

(Ah, here we are…)

Socks are important to me for a couple of reasons: obviously in the winter, they keep my feet warm under my boots.

And I’m a difficult fit for shoes. Buying shoes always involves some compromise on comfort—too loose here, too tight there. So I need good socks, even in summertime, to fill in the loose spaces and to protect my feet from the tight ones.

Did you know the great genius Albert Einstein never wore socks? Maybe if he had, he could have applied his powerful intellect to one of the great mysteries of science: how does one sock out of a pair disappear in the laundry?

In all modesty, I must admit I am a lesser genius than the great Einstein, and I can’t solve that eternal riddle either.

But I have my own way of dealing with it. You see, all my socks are the same. I only buy one kind of thick, soft grey socks for summer and winter wear. If I have a dozen pair (which I calculate as 24 socks, but I’m no Einstein) and one sock goes missing, I haven’t lost a pair—I just have 23 socks in my rotation. And they all match.

Let this be my contribution to civilization. I have succeeded where others have failed. Socrates wore sandals; the eccentric Einstein wore shoes but no socks. They have no insights to offer.

But through my simple single-sock system, I have revolutionized the economy of the sock drawer—at least until someone cracks the mystery of where those odd socks go.