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‘Sock It To Me’ Because I’ve Lost Another One!

Leading scientists have not really been able to unravel the cause of one of life’s greatest mysteries: why ever so often does a sock come up missing?

There are a lot of theories out there about why socks disappear. Do they get lost in the washing machine? Do dryers actually eat socks? They have to be around somewhere, don’t they?

Maybe the missing one is still in a shoe or underneath something. Could it be inside the washer drum or somewhere around the laundry appliances? It could be underneath pretty much anything or have gotten left behind in the cloths hamper. Sometimes those little guys get stuck inside other clothes. Static electricity is to blame here! You’ll find them eventually when you notice that weird bulge in your sleeve, but by then, you may have given up on your favorite pair of socks and thrown the mate away.

The mystery of that missing sock spawned the marginally serious Bureau of Missing Socks website, the first organization solely devoted to solving the question of what happens to missing single socks. It explores all aspects of the phenomena including the occult, conspiracy theories and extraterrestrial. The subject also was the object of one of Commedian Jerry Seinfeld’s stand-up routines.

Seinfeld says socks are the most amazing article of clothing. “They hate their lives — they’re in shoes with stinky feet and kept in boring dresser drawers. The dryer is their only chance to escape, and they all know it. In fact, they plan it in the hamper, the night before…”

But socks aren’t the only items that go missing. My wife and I each have a trusted pair or two of prescription eyeglasses we both keep in safe spaces for serious reading. But for the morning newspaper, magazines, crossword puzzles, recipes, the computer, etcetera we keep several pairs of reading glasses from a dollar store laying on kitchen counters and on assorted tables. But just when we look for a pair to read the mail or check a date on the calendar, we can’t find even one pair. Where did they all go? Just last night after supper there were at least six pairs on the kitchen table. Now they’re gone! We found one pair in a dog’s water dish. Are our beloved pets suspect thieves of both socks and eyeglasses?

Here’s another mystery! I went to a specialist I hadn’t been to for a couple of years so the office reviewed my address, phone numbers, insurance and so forth. En route to the infamous “inside waiting room” a nurse had me step on a scale and then checked my height. My weight was still hanging in there, so to speak, but I lost an inch-and-a-half in height! Where did a part of me go?

I guess we all have our moments where we can’t find the things that were right there a moment ago! The things you lose usually are the things you carry around with you the most, so it’s no surprise that most people lose the same things, and do so more than once a month. No matter how different our lifestyles are, studies and polls suggest that when it comes to losing stuff, we’re all pretty much the same.

So, what do we lose most often? The top five things we lose are: Car or house keys, wallet, phone, TV remote and eyeglasses. Surveys show that most of us lose the same personal items no matter our location. And while the order changes a little bit, the top five items we lose are the same no matter where we live.

In the United States, the top spot on the list goes to the TV remote that over 71 percent of Americans lose at least once a month. Other items that often come up missing most are money, socks, phone charger, bank cards, gloves, umbrella, headphones, wallet, make-up, jewelry, shoes, watches and hats.

Folklore provides us with a host of small fairy-like creatures, frequently treading a fine line between the malevolent and benevolent, and worryingly quick to take offense at something we did or didn’t do. Leprechauns probably are the most famous mischievous fairy folk. That missing sock is not in any of those places that make sense. So, we’ll just have to admit – and it’s probably just a longshot — but just maybe it’s inside the belly of the sock monster!

So next time you lose a sock, reading glasses, break a vase or misplace your keys, there’s a plethora of miniature mischief-makers to take the blame. One can lose weight and gain it back easily. But I’d like to know where that one-and-a-half inches in height went and how I can put it back on!

Vince LaBarbera
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Vince LaBarbera

Vince is a Fort Wayne native. He earned a master of science degree in journalism and advertising from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. LaBarbera is retired but continues to enjoy freelance writing and serving the Radio Reading Service of the Allen County Public Library. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer