Adults worry about things we can’t do anything about. We complain about gas prices. We work long hours so we can afford time off. We weigh ourselves. We are concerned with weighty issues.
But we also find socks become more attractive as our age becomes more apparent. Why?
It’s not that we change in such a way that makes socks more important. We don’t get to a certain age and start wearing socks on our hands like grandma. We don’t double up on socks because our feet shrink. We don’t turn thirty and realize we’re out of sock puppets and company is coming.
(By the way, you seem to be out of sock puppets.)
It is not that socks are the exclusive preoccupation of adults. You don’t need to be a certain age to wear socks; there’s no licensing involved. Sock wearing requires no specific skill set.
A child can tell you everything you need to know about the operation of socks.
All you need to know is put your foot into the hole at one end of the sock and stop when you get to the other end, the end without a hole.
(Editor’s note: a sock with a hole in either end is a legging, and there’s not enough time before the Earth falls into the Sun for me to cover all the ins and outs of leggings. Don’t beg me. I MEAN IT.)
It’s not that people get hurt if socks are misused. No one gets runoverby speeding socks. Socks don’t lose power and drop out of the sky. We don’t lose sleep over the prospect of intercontinental ballistic socks.
As President Merkin Muffley said in Dr. Strangelove, “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.”<>
It’s not that socks are in the same categories as hot peppers, coffee, chardonnay or essays on the human condition—things you develop a taste for based on peer pressure and Scoville ratings, the possibility of legal stimulants and the demands of thermoregulation, the ability to distinguish one label on a curved surface for another or the realization that no one has written anything half as good as the best Oliver Sacks or the worst George Orwell.
It’s not like socks go up in value. People don’t brag about their socks over the water cooler. Hedge funds don’t invest in sock futures. People don’t bury socks in their backyards. There is no Fort Knox of socks. You might go as far as to say there is no Fort Socks.
Everyone has socks. There, I said it. Everyone has socks.
But not everyone has wool socks: cushiony, breathable and dry in the summer, cushiony, insulating and warm in the winter. And once you’ve had a good pair of wool socks, you want more.
As an adult, you can buy yourself socks. You can buy them for others. You can buy them in a store. You can buy a whole lot more. You can buy them as I say. You can buy them right away. And if you doubt this epigram…
You bet I buy them, Sam I am.
It’s not an addiction; it’s Merino. Luscious long fibers that travel the same direction as your skin, not the brutish, nasty and short fibers that point at your skin and irritate it.
At Bushwhacker, we call good socks SmartWool. (Luckily, so do the folks who make our socks.)
If we age gracefully, we accept the things we cannot change and change the things we can. It’s one of the reasons I believe Reinhold Niebuhr wore good wool socks. The other reason is I haven’t come across any essays of his on the life-altering qualities of synthetic socks.
There aren’t any. So if you haven’t tried wool, change what you can change.
Change your socks.
Sam is so good at writing about socks I almost forgot to tell you how amazing it is that all I notice about the giant wall of socks in the picture above is the green Superfeet boxes layin on the floor instead hanging nicely next to their wool companions. If the person who took this picture cared half as much about keeping things orderly and neat as he/she does about taking insanely great pictures...