I recently bought some socks.
In and of itself, that is not what one might normally, or even under exceptional circumstances, label “an extraordinary event.” In fact, nothing even vaguely related to anything I’m going to write about today is something that anyone at all would normally, or even under exceptional circumstances, in any way whatsoever label “an extraordinary event.” I don’t know why I mentioned it at all. Please ignore my opening sentence. Let’s move on, shall we?
Oh, wait. I just remembered why I mentioned it. We can’t move on because the socks and my purchase of them, uninteresting though they be in and of themselves, are the things I want to talk about. Therefore, please ignore that I asked you to ignore my first sentence and let’s move on, shall we?
I bought a set of three socks that came on one of those triple-sock-pair hangers that someone probably spent a lifetime designing and then retired or checked into a looney bin (or, if he or she was more politically correct, possibly a mental health facility).
The set of three socks was tightly bound together by a wide band of heavy cardboard that bore the manufacturer’s name and some marketing messages assuring me that they were, indeed, truly wonderful, awe-inspiring socks. This arrangement (the triple-sock-pair hanger coupled with the cardboard band, not the branding and marketing messages) ensured that none of the socks would ever be separated from the group without a conscious being willing it to be so and then taking action to cause his or her will to be done.
I found it comforting that the sock-maker went to such great lengths to guarantee that all of the socks in the set would stay together throughout the shipping processes and while being manhandled by staff and customers in the manufacturing plant, the warehouse(s) and in the store where I bought them. If a sock is going to escape and hide from its mate by traveling to a parallel universe or, if not a parallel universe, then one that intersects with our universe only at points that are not in the same time zone as my feet, then I would prefer that it waits until I get it home before it does so.
I would go even farther and say that it would be nice if I got to wear a pair of socks at least once before they parted company and filed for divorce, with neither of them getting custody of my feet. That way, if they feel the need to separate irrevocably, as they usually eventually do, I will at least get a little use out of them first.
Here’s the interesting part. (I know you were hoping that I might somehow be induced to include an interesting part.) The store was running a “buy two, get the third one three” sale on socks. The “two” and “one” referred to sets, not individual socks or sock pairs unless they weren’t being sold as part of a set. I bought three sets of three pairs to take advantage of the sale.
That’s not the interesting bit, but I had to mention it because I needed to impart that information to set up the interesting part.
In each of the three sets, one pair of socks was assembled differently than the other two pair. In the special pair, one, and only one, of the socks had a piece of tissue paper in it. This tissue paper served no purpose that I could discern other than to make a crinkly sound when you bent the socks in any way. Maybe this was an anti-theft device. Maybe the idea was that a store clerk would hear the crinkly sound if someone tried to stuff the socks into his or her pocket without paying for them. If so, I think it would have been far more effective if the manufacturer had gone with, say, a loud, wailing siren sound rather than a gentle crinkling sound that isn’t audible from across an aisle, let alone the other side of the shop. But that’s just my opinion.
The other thing that was unique about this one pair out of three was that the two socks in that pair were sewn together. In addition to binding the two socks together, this stitching attached a cardboard label bearing the company’s name and marketing messages—names and messages that added no information whatsoever to what was provided on the cardboard that bound the three pairs together.
What? You thought that still wasn’t an interesting part? Wait. It’s coming.
In each of the three sets of three pairs of socks, the thread binding the unique pair together was color-matched to the socks. I’m fairly certain this wasn’t just a coincidence because I intentionally chose sets that contained different colors and patterns of socks. The color of the binding-thread was different in each set, but came close to matching the socks it was stitching together.
I found this strange. Just ripping the label off didn’t take the binding-thread with it. There was no way that I could see that I could break the thread without taking a good chunk of the sock with it. I had to cut it. The fact that the thread and socks were color-matched made it difficult to see where the thread ended and the sock began.
Couple this with the fact that the sewing created a fairly tight loop and you have a situation that required a surgeon’s hands and eyes to cut the thread and free the socks without damaging them. I considered getting a surgeon to do it, but my provincial health insurance plan won’t cover that sort of operation. (Bastards!) Therefore, it would have been cost-prohibitive.
In the end, I cut the thread myself. All three operations were successful, without any harm to the patients, but I’m not ashamed to say that there were some tense moments.
Here’s the point: Cutting was something I had to do. I couldn’t simply leave the thread intact unless I intended to wear the joined pair of socks only while standing or sitting with my feet tightly together. So, if the thread has to be removed, why go to the trouble of color-matching it with the sock and, thereby, making it difficult to see when I try to cut it? That seems ridiculous to me. But that’s just my opinion.
OK, so there weren’t any interesting parts. Sorry about that, but if I hadn’t told you that there were then most of you would have stopped reading long ago. That would have hurt my feelings if I ever found out.
Categorised as: stuff and nonsense