Philosophical Curiosities Concerning My Missing Socks

I live alone and seldom receive guests. I have two feet and wear two socks (known as a “pair”) simultaneously, until they are put directly into a laundry basket, where they stay unbothered until they are loaded, bi-weekly, into a washing machine in a laundry room approximately 40 ft. from my condominium unit for 33 minutes, then—perhaps with a ~10-12 minute “window period”—placed into the dryer for 45 minutes, then solemnly retrieved.

I am a moderately intelligent adult with no cognitive or physical disabilities. I only mention this to clarify one thing: the aforementioned paragraph describing the perennial treatment of my socks is, I will assert, “aggressively hermetic,” and subject to very little error. And yet, the theory does not meet the evidence which lies before me. I currently have seven socks which are missing the “other” sock.

I understand that everybody experiences this, and collectively as a human race we are not perfect people, and that yes, of course my missing socks still physically exist in this world. I am not insane. The question is where?

There is the laundry room, but I checked the laundry room. There is the hallway between the laundry room and my apartment, but I checked that path of Diaspora. There are the occasional times at the beach or picnic where, inspired by my surroundings, I remove my socks to coax a breeze between my toes—but I always put them back on when the fun is over. Then there is my condominium unit, my relatively small and tidy place of which I have scoured every inch looking for my missing socks.

Figure 1 introduces a tug-of-war between rationalism and empiricism (which can also be seen as a clothesline from which our ill-fated sock dangles). At one end of the rope, the missing sock innately exists, for it cannot rationally not exist. This is rationalism, a notion of the world removed from perception, and arguably objective. At the other end of the rope, the sock’s existence, as mediated by physical world encounters/experiences, has been usurped by a large “Black Hole”—a common motif attributed to ponderous concepts which human thought is futile in the face of, like the beginning and/or end of the universe itself. Short of actually understanding quantum physics, I do know that atoms can get pretty jacked up, like in different dimensions n’ shit. Looking at a plate of pasta is a venture into string theory. Wanting to bang a 16-yr-old is time travel. May this essay humbly amble towards a theory that our collective missing socks are caught in some parallel universe, existing between us. For example, you ever walk around with one sock on? Don’t it feel natural? That’s not being drunk, that’s being on another cosmic level dude.

The ontological implications are manifold. The western “individual”/”self” is commonly seen as contingent upon a check-list of ephemeral/material obtainments, which includes a full pair of socks; thus, the ethos of late-Western thought (i.e. individualism, capitalism, fundamentalism) is an attempt to “plug” the existential black hole in the universe—from not losing your socks, to not losing your job, to not losing your mind. This is why Wal-Mart smells like a butt-plug. On the other side of the world, Buddha—currently taking form as the subterranean “ring of nothingness” in Figure 2—patiently waits for our sock to drop through the mere veil of Western “self” and the Black Hole it attempts to cover. Here Buddha says you who wear socks are not really wearing socks, just wearing them in your mind—for as long as you are nothing without your socks, then you are something; it is not until you are truly nothing that you can become anything, now pass the bong.

The moral of this essay is to give up looking for the “other” sock. Stop plugging up holes and pulling on rope. Simply take two socks, like a severely depressed or blind person might, and just fucking wear them. I hereby concede that I will never know what happened, and continuously happens, to my “other” socks, a term often used to describe political marginalization, but in this case, just foot-orphanage. Stop struggling with approximate beiges, browns, and blacks that are in the “same neighborhood,” and just calmly wear the first two socks that your hands happen to touch upon. As long as your feet are mirrors of each other, you will be bisected in half. To become whole, ignore the outside world, and yourself. And when you walk, the ghost of your other footstep will haunt you, an apparition saying “you look stupid,” and you will say “don’t worry about it, it’s nothing.” TC mark

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  • I've lost a hundred socks

    I Loled several times and tears tingled in my eyeballs. I connected to this piece on a very deep emotional level. I do hate this phenomena. Fav article.Thanks.

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      glad you connected so deep

  • http://twitter.com/phmadore phmadore

    If you pull the pipe from your dryer, you will find a trove of socks, and if your dryer was previously owned, you'll have a whole rad new set of socks, too.

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      interesting theory, but it's a little too 'hot tub time machine' for me

  • http://twitter.com/phmadore phmadore

    PS — I think I might have the mate to the one on the far left.

  • http://popserial.tumblr.com stephen

    hehe “solemnly retrieved” :)

  • jane

    Great, GREAT article.

  • fl

    If I've never lost “the other sock,” ever, does this mean I've achieved Nirvana?

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      smells like clean– oh, nevermind

      • fl

        Kurt is smiling upon you from… some sort of afterlife venue.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/willandbears Masha Sun

    This is so fucking amazing. Actually inspiring my literature paper. BUT WHERE IS TIME IN THIS CONTINUUM? DOES TIME EXIST??

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      yes, time exists, like every time this happens we get a little older

      • http://twitter.com/#!/willandbears Masha Sun

        oh my god jimmy chen talked to me

  • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

    interesting theory, but it's a little too 'hot tub time machine' for me

  • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

    glad you connected so deep

  • http://twitter.com/#!/willandbears Masha Sun

    http://www.ehow.com/how_511875

    This article is actually a tragedy waiting to happen

    • http://kumquatparadise.tumblr.com aaron nicholas

      lol

      • http://kumquatparadise.tumblr.com aaron nicholas

        “Remember those missing socks? One story reported on the Flylady (home and cleaning tips) website from a reader indicated that when her dryer caught fire, she found 12 missing socks that had slipped behind the drum! Somehow the socks had wiggled through the lint trap or another part of the mechanism and were trapped between the drum and the unit. They heated up and acted like kindling. If you miss a lot of socks, you might want to unplug your dryer and check out the lint trap to see if those missing socks are somewhere close at hand.”

  • philippe

    This is great stuff… what other pairs of things are there that go missing?

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