Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lost Socks and the Secrets of Star Travel

Okay, the title of this blog entry certainly begs explanation and may seem a bit outlandish to you.  Bear with me. 

Yesterday as I was folding my wife’s laundry (yeah, I know—insert snide comment here.  What can I say?  I am the one with the flexible schedule at the moment) I made an astonishing discovery.  I can’t say what went into the washing machine, but I can attest as to what came out of the drier.  When the folding of the clothes had ended, six socks lay arranged in a row.  Four of them were orphans.

That’s a 40% loss.  In one load of clothes.  Gettysburg had a better casualty rate. 

This was impressive even by my wife’s normal standards.  I don’t claim the Carr household singlehandedly keeps the Haynes Corporation in business, but lost socks around here are nothing new.  Every now and then, I’ll kid her about this.  Her explanation is that when she’s not looking, her socks “make a break for it.”

The notion is tempting.  One can almost imagine a Pitcairn Island for socks, where mutinous, runaway foot coverings have gathered to take refuge from a cruel and oppressive society.  It’s not hard to see why they might have such a reaction.  What do you do with a sock that has a hole in it?  Darn it?  No, you damn it, consigning it to an eternity in some landfill.  Or if it’s lucky it might get recycled into a dust rag or Qtip or something.  Once upon a time, when resources were scarce, some socks might have seen some mending.  But those days are long gone.  Now, we use ‘em and callously throw ‘em out.  Why should they let themselves be abused in that fashion if they don’t have to?

Of course, buying into that explanation requires you to subscribe to the notion that socks have a will of their own and the means to carry it out.  This seems a stretch.

I was pondering the problem further when it hit me:  In the lost sock arena, my wife isn’t just special, she’s a force of nature.  And I mean that in the fullest sense of the word.  A force field of some sort must surround her.  Think of it as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as it applies to socks.  Quantum mechanics have subatomic particles winking in and out of existence all the time.  Why can’t this apply to larger objects?

I wasn't kidding about that Google search
The physical laws of the universe dictate that in nature, if a phenomenon exists in one place, then it must exist in others.  Logically, then, The Bride of the Bloviator can’t be the only one to suffer from this problem.  If the truth be told, I have lost a sock or two myself.  So I looked it up.  Would you care to guess how many hits the phrase “lost socks” returned on Google?  Brace yourself:  Six million 143 thousand.  In less than half a second.  In fact there are entire web pages devoted to this heretofore unexplained phenom.

The conclusion is inescapable.  Somehow socks are passing through some kind of gateway or tunnel through another dimension, and they’re doing so with the expenditure of surprisingly little energy.  Further, it’s impossible to believe that only socks are involved.  We’re talking car keys, flashlights, credit cards, pens and pencils by the billions, cell phones, iPods, homework, party directions, wedding rings, hair ties, gloves, hats, glasses, shoes, money (I’ve long suspected that cash jumps out of my wallet when I’m not looking)—you name it.  It beggars the imagination.

The precise physical means by which these items make the journey is unknown.  But the implications are staggering.  If scientists would take this phenomenon seriously, study it, and determine where these objects are going and how they’re getting there, they might well discover the secrets of star travel.  Just think of the new vistas this would open up for mankind.  We could abandon this tired planet like the overstuffed garbage dump we’re fast turning it into and move on to something new or at least a bit more gently used.

Best of all, once we get to our new destination, the Mount Everest of goods and recyclables we’ll find there will pay for the trip.

And to think it will all have started with a simple thought exercise inquiring into the fate of four lost socks.  My wife, the astronaut.  It makes one misty.


Okay, I’m not saying I wrote this in retaliation for the Bride of the Bloviator not posting more entries to my blog like she promised.  But not I’m saying I didn’t.  You can find more scribblings by her and about her at this link.

If you enjoyed this, I invite you to follow this blog and also to check out my novels here.

©2015 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.


  1. Lost socks are nothing new. I expect one day the missing socks, will suddenly appear burying us under mounds of clean ones-es socks. I did find a solution, called "sock cops," basically, clips to keep the pair together from wash to dry. Oddly, though the set came with 20 clips, but I now find I need more clips, which indicates the socks are running off as pairs.
    Maybe chicken little will need to change his tune to "the socks are falling!"

    1. Or it could mean you're losing the clips. And we KNOW where they went, don't we? :-)