No one can ignore my father’s suspicious plethora of fabric footwear, which includes not only the woolen sock drawer but a sister drawer filled with enough dress socks for a caterpillar black tie event. Perhaps I am genetically predisposed to a sock fetish that runs in my family. More likely is that I take comfort in knowing that the socks will always be there for me. There is something powerful about a simple object that can give you happiness and fulfillment. I believe in socks.
Two years ago I discovered my dad’s sock drawer, and instead of finding a stash of porn, I found socks, lots and lots of socks. Intrigued that a person could fill an entire drawer with such things, I tried a pair on. It was amazing.
Not only could I make out the shape of my foot now, but the heels didn’t ride up when I put on my shoes, creating a baggy pouch that would rest atop the back of my shoe like some sort of ankle tumor. The socks also had a thicker bottom, making me slightly taller with each cushioned step.
The socks solved a current problem of mine. I happen to enjoy doing homework not on my desk, but lying on my stomach with my legs swinging and flailing above my head. Until recently this activity had presented a problem. Sand from my shoes would become dislodged and fall into my pant legs thus chaffing my knees. However, the removal of my shoes would only be announced by the odiferous quality of my feet, unable to be contained by my previous, flimsy, white tube socks.
At first the socks were merely a functional solution to my sandy problem and a way to warm my digits; however, I soon developed an addiction to the wonder garments, no longer able to start my homework without them. Before doing my homework, I used to perform a menagerie of rituals, that would not only waste biblical proportions of time, but redefine Webster’s definition of procrastination. One ritual included the sharpening of five Ticonderoga pencils and the consumption of an entire bag of frozen peas before even contemplating the integration of trigonometric functions by finding anti-derivatives. The unthawed legumes were soon replaced by socks.
After an exhausting day at school, I would come home and adorn these woolen creatures. They were the antidote to my procrastination problem. They were my Ritalin. When I donned my socks, I became invincible, focused and sexy. The socks even possessed a sock wisdom, always knowing how to hug and warm my feet with a perfect amount of snugness that seemed to say, “Alec, we’re here for you.”
And they were there for me, right in the bottom of my father’s dresser drawer.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.