For a significant portion of my adult-shoe-sized life I consented to own only a single sort of sock. Gray Hanes socks.
My time, I reasoned at the tender age of fifteen, was too precious to be spent sorting and matching socks.
(Of course, at the time my mother was sorting and washing socks; I only did laundry when I wanted to work out something on guitar without anyone being able to hear me.)
And, socks were a utilitarian piece of clothing – their selection hardly factored into my fashion sense. Between boot legged jeans and tight vinyl pants no one would ever know or care what color socks I wore
(Around the same time I had deemed that all of my underwear be black, which seems contrary to the whole “utilitarian piece of clothing” argument. Except, nothing spoiled a good semi-goth outfit than a tiny peek of the angelic elastic of a pair of tighty-whities. Trust me.)
My single-sock philosophy developed a chink at Drexel, where our job-interview coaches put our impending job interviews in a plain and dire light: if your interviewer caught you wearing gym socks under your dress pants they would turn you out on your ear, having already seen for themselves your greatest on-the-job weakness and deemed you unworthy. And, if Drexel caught wind of it you could be expelled.
Or something like that.
I carefully shopped around for a black sock I could stick with, eventually settling on Dockers. Generic, easily bought in packs of three or nine. The perfect complement to the gray Hanes. With only two colors, sorting was still not an issue, which I appreciated much more now that doing my laundry involved sitting in molded plastic chairs and sorting on card tables.
I’ll spare you a sock-tinged journey through the remainder of my collegiate and professional career and just cut to the chase.
Friday morning I spent ten minutes rustling through my laundry basket seeking black socks. In the literal sense my quest was fulfilled – I came away from my hunt with eight socks. Yet, practically it was unfulfilled – none of them matched. I have designer black socks, gold-toed black socks, black socks with subtle patterns, and two subtly-different sorts of black Dockers socks.
What’s the moral of this tale? I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps that all of those fussy teenaged whims usually have some sort of obstinately sound reasoning behind them, and if you don’t wind up as an entirely different person as an adult you might find yourself wishing you had never let down your guard.
Although, for the record, I still do not own any white underwear.