Flashback: The sock theory

When you buy a pair of socks, depending on the brand, you could get one left leg and one right leg OR you get two identical legs of socks with no definition on which is the right sock and which is left.
For the ones that are clearly left and right legs, you know what to do. You match the foot to the sock, put them on, and make it into work on time.
For the blank socks, there are no rules. On the first wear, you randomly assign roles to the nondescript socks. Say the one you brought out of the pack first becomes the left leg, and the other one becomes the right leg. You put them on and they feel a little funny because they’re not really left or right foot shaped, but they’re not terribly uncomfortable.
After the first wear, the socks have started taking the shape of your feet. The left sock is starting to look a little left. Your big toe is visibly sticking out of the right side and you can now distinguish between which is the left leg and which is the right one, albeit with some effort.
So on the second wear, you have to decide if you continue to wear the left sock on your left foot. Well, it’s not a left sock yet, it’s just the sock you wore on your left foot the last time. It’s currently an androgynous sock on the way to becoming a left sock. Its mind is still under-developed, its leftist views are still being formed.
You could seal the deal by putting it permanently on left foot duty. Have it specialize in the left ways, make it a little business card that says “Left Sock – Specialist” and in a few more wears, there will be no turning back. It will be a left sock forever. It will fit your left leg perfectly because by repetition, you have etched the shape of your foot upon its face. Rote mastery of the left foot.
But once that happens, it can never be anything other than a left sock. Sure, it could be a piece of cloth used to dust your shoes or something equally degrading, but in its wildest dreams, it could never be a right sock.

Or you could keep things fluid, keep them dynamic. Switch the left-leaning sock over to the right foot after the first wear. Expose it to some new ideas, teach it the right path, show it that things don’t always have to be a certain way. Show it that there’s a world outside of the left foot, a world very much like your own but with slight differences. A mirror universe where the big toe hangs out on the left side.
If you choose to go this route, your socks will never fit well. They will not be clearly defined as right or left, because you’re constantly switch their roles, making them Jacks of both feet and masters of none. They will always be caught in the middle in the struggle between good and evil, between right and wrong.
On the plus side, you know that you can always randomly pick two legs of socks from the drawer, and you know you have a pair. You don’t have to worry about whether they are right socks or left socks. This will serve you well when the right legs start getting missing, and you know they will, because the rights never stay put for very long.

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8 thoughts on “Flashback: The sock theory

    • Oh? Why would you assume that? One must always write about large issues and socks don’t count as a large issue?

      Other better people already have hunger in Africa covered, I’m looking for untapped markets. Starting from socks.
      Up next aglets.

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