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Jon Mark Beilue column - Posted July 28, 2017 9:21 a.m.
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Artwork by Andy Chase Cundiff

The great mystery: Where are my socks?

It was a Saturday night, which should speak volumes on how exciting my Saturday nights are. I was not rearranging my sock drawer, but close.

I was looking for some dark socks for church the next morning – just some normal rolled-up dark socks. I assume there’s about 12 pair in your drawer right now.

But I couldn’t find any. All I could see were lots of little singles of maroon, blue, brown, gray, green and tan flopped on top of everything. OK, I’d finally had it.

Since this was for church the next morning, it was time for a come-to-Jesus meeting with all my socks. Too many had gone out on their own and were doing their thing.

This had been going on for way too long. They weren’t team socks.

So I took them out one by one and spread them on the bed. The goal here was to match them, and then roll them and get some sanity back to my sock drawer.

I pulled out 20 solo socks of all makes and models – 20. I figured I’d match them up into about nine or so nicely rolled pairs with at least a couple of strays.

I figured wrong. When I finished trying to match them, there were still 20. None of them matched. None. How is that even possible?

I called my wife into the bedroom, thinking I might need a witness for an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records:

Most Socks In a Drawer Without a Match: 20, Beilue, J.M., Amarillo, Texas, May 27, 2017.

I just kind of waved my arms to these rows of socks on the bed, and rather sheepishly told her, “Not a match.” She gave a whose-fault-is-that shrug and went on her merry way.

I don’t understand it. We never lose underwear – at least not from the hamper to washer to dryer to drawer assembly line. Shirts seem to make it back fine. I can’t recall ever losing any pants, but socks?

The little hooligans turn tail the first chance they get. I’ll be the first to admit my feet probably don’t smell like Clive Christian’s No. 1 Perfume for Men ($2,350 per bottle), but they’re likely average on the foot odorometer.

But I have no idea what happened to 20 socks over the last couple of years. Where could they have gone?

Jerry Seinfeld has a whole routine on this, so I know I’m not the only one. I’ve just taken it to new heights.

Socks are ambitious and determined, Jerry said. They wait until there’s a chance to escape, which is usually in the dryer, and they’re gone. What are his chances?

“I see a dirty sock along the curb. What happened?” he said. “He didn’t make it. I respect him. He took that risk.

“Socks hate their lives. They’re in shoes, in drawers, and they wait for that moment in the dryer. That’s his chance and he knows it. So they cling to the sweater and escape.”

The London Daily Mail in 2015 reported that Samsung commissioned a study about the solo sock plague in Great Britain. Samsung’s new AddWash machine allowed for individual items to be put in the drum midway through a wash through a special opening.

The study came up with the Sock Loss Index: (L(p x f) + C(t x s)) – (P x A))

In this equation, 'L' stands for 'laundry size', based on the number of people in a household (p) with the frequency of washes (f). 'C' stands for 'washing complexity.' Types of wash (t) is multiplied by the number of socks washed in a week (s). 'P', or 'positivity towards the laundry' is subtracted from the sum of 'L' and 'C'.

I’m not discounting some of Cambridge’s greatest mathematical and scientific minds, but it seems like a bit of a copout. It’s either not giving enough credit to the wily, ingenious argyle sock, or it’s not providing enough blame to the dumb, careless owner of said socks.

I don’t know. My sock loss, to quote another Brit, Winston Churchill, is “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

I will say of the 20 solo socks, 14 of them fit into the “close enough” category. They’re not exact matches, but like I care. If someone wants to get on their knees at work and examine my socks and say, “I don’t believe those are exact,” then I’ll congratulate them and say, “Busted.”

Add to that three pair of socks I got for Father’s Day, and I should be in good shape for a while. But these new guys, I got my eye on you.

by Jon Mark Beilue

Jon Mark Beilue is an award-winning columnist for AGN Media. He can be reached at jon.beilue@amarillo.com or (806) 345-3318.
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