Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for May: (5/4) Linda Norlander, (5/11) Connie Berry, (5/18) Mary Keliikoa, (5/22) Annette Dashofy, and (5/25) Rosalie Spielman.

Monday, October 25, 2021

The Mysterious Missing Socks by Nancy L. Eady

I don’t divide my laundry by color, but by disposition—the hangables (the clothes that get hung directly from the dryer or which need to hang dry without going into the dryer), the ironables (the clothes that need to be ironed), and the foldables (yep, the clothes that need to be folded). Under the normal laws of physics, you would expect a simple equation. Socks in hamper = socks out of dryer. 

It doesn’t work that way. A black hole periodically appears and disappears in the dryer, taking a sock with it. One oddity of this phenomenon is that it is sock specific. I’d expect any self-respecting black hole visiting a dryer to vary its diet with shirts, jeans, or underwear, but not mine. It transports socks. I’m not sure where the black hole takes them, but by now, it has a vast collection of athletic socks, compression socks, pants socks, knee socks and any other sock you can imagine. 

I take it in stride. If the dryer didn’t get a sock occasionally, the dogs would, still leaving me short. My husband, however, is much more careful with his clothing. We have gone on safari before to locate his missing clothing. The black hole must know this, since my socks disappear at a far faster rate than do his. But whenever the black hole takes male socks, Mark and I have the same discussion. It always starts with “What is happening to all my socks?” He hasn’t bought into the black hole theory yet. 

The dryer has help from my 19-year-old, who refuses to wear socks bought for her.  Instead, she seems to believe my socks possess magic properties, requiring her to snatch them from my drawer. Today, I mentioned to her that my socks are disappearing at an alarming rate. Her response? 

“I put them in your hamper when I was done with them.”    

The urge to thank her for her consideration warred with the impulse to suggest that if she’d drop the rest of my clothes that she borrows in the hamper also, I’d at least get to visit with them. She likes to “borrow” my size XXL T-shirts, which she says drape comfortably and artistically around her size XS frame. But I know the socks aren’t her fault, especially since she has no use for Mark’s. 

I often wonder where the black hole sends the socks. It’s not the other side of the world, since I checked the “antipodes map” at is a website showing what is on the exact opposite side of the earth from you. In my case, if you dug a tunnel straight through the globe from where I’m sitting, you’d end up somewhere in the Pacific Ocean about 2/3 of the way east between Madagascar and Australia, not a very propitious site for socks. It’s possible that the black hole is part of a secret government experiment that transports objects to Tuttle, North Dakota (pop. 77), but why socks? Why North Dakota? Why Tuttle? The list of questions continues. 

One day, I will discover the closet holding every missing sock and open it, only to die buried in an avalanche of socks. What a way to go!


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Ode to missing socks. Wonderful!

Jim Jackson said...

Maybe your socks are the seeds for the great garbage collections they've found in the oceans.

Shari Randall said...

So much fun!

Kait said...

This is delightful!

KM Rockwood said...

The late Erma Bombeck addressed this very issue. She tells us that, like butterflies, socks undergo a metamorphosis process in which they appear in quite different forms. When socks complete their changes, they become those excess wire coat hangars in the front closet.

Kait said...

Kathleen, that is so funny. I was a Bombeck fan, but I don't recall reading the metamorphosis theory. Could be right. :)

Molly MacRae said...

Now I'm suspicious. Our socks are too well-behaved and quiet. What are they plotting?