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I Went Hunting for All the Missing Kids’ Socks …

The embedded sock hunter. | Image Source: Serge Bielanko Private
The embedded sock hunter. | Image Source: Serge Bielanko Private

I’m inside the clothes dryer.

Don’t judge me, just hand me my flashlight. I’ve been driven here. Forced into this dryer at sockpoint, people.

You like true crime stories, right?  Well, I’ve got one. The mystery of the 10,000 socks that have gone missing from my kids’ sock drawers over the past year or so.

Everything sock-wise has spun way out of control, and I honestly can’t take it anymore. Folding the laundry this morning, I started chucking all the smaller socks over into a small heap like I always do, when I suddenly lost it.

Where are they going?!

Seriously.

WHERE ARE ALL THESE MISSING KIDS’ SOCKS AT?

They have to be somewhere! And I’m tired of just sighing and getting on with the laundry folding, always pretending that this ridiculous mystery will solve itself. It never solves itself!

That’s when I knew it was now or never. I had to find out. Or die trying.

***

So here I am, in my own dryer, determined to find out once and for all where the HELL all these socks have gotten to. My head is touching the back wall as I try to detect some hidden nook or pocket where rogue socks could possibly be hiding out like kids cutting school in the woods.

I don’t see anything at all as I shine my flashlight all over the place. The dryer is smooth and perfectly free of any sort of sock hideaway. There is simply nowhere in here that socks could get to.

I’m not surprised, but it’s disappointing anyway. It’s like when you keep opening the fridge even though you just checked it 10 minutes ago. Nothing miraculously appears. No Fried Chicken Elf has left you a care package since you last walked away.

The dryer is a dud. Socks appear to enter here and never come out, but that theory gets shot down as I scooch back out and head for greener pastures.

***

Under the bunk beds upstairs, I hit the jackpot right away!

A momentary poke of my head under the bottom bunk reveals a white tube sock (size 4-5) glaring at me like an angry mole I’ve just tunneled into. I chuck it back into the room and head in deep, thinking I’ll find more.

But there is no more.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. There is more, just no more socks. I do come across a few of my missing paperback novels that I didn’t even know had been swiped from my bookshelf downstairs. I have no idea what that’s all about. I know it was probably my 4-year-old son, Henry, though. He seems to have that strange domestic relocation gene where he loves to take stuff from around the house and move it somewhere else.

But no socks.

I back out from under the bed and pick up my tiny find and walk over to my massive pile of abandoned single socks over on the dresser. You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s not a match for any of the like 378 socks in the pile. Ugh.

Socks suck.

***

I decide to get clever, try and think like a kid. There has to be some misguided humanity behind the whole missing single sock phenomenon. Lifeless artifacts don’t get up and walk away on their own; there’s got to be a kid behind this whole deal.

So yeah, I’ll admit it. I take almost everything out of the freezer. I waste 20 minutes of my heard-earned life stacking frozen pot pies and Popsicles on the kitchen table somehow hoping against hope that I will lift the Ice Age pack of ground meat I put in there over a year ago and there will be the nest of socks staring up at me shivering and afraid.

I find nothing.

I find a plastic spider under a lasagna. I almost mess myself.

I’m getting pi**ed off.

***

Drawers, I root through them. Nothing.

The broom closet, I tear it up for nought.

In the play room, I sigh as I go about the task of pulling all 82,000 stuffed Elmos and dinosaurs out of the overflowing chest I spend half of my days smooshing them back into and I’m about to retreat from yet another useless battlefield when I find two of my missing socks on the hands of a moose who smells a tinge like old sour orange juice.

Moose mittens. Someone I helped create had come up with the idea of moose mittens, I guess. I smile a little, take the socks off his paws. I need to reclaim things right about now. My mystified head is about done in by this big dumb fruitless search. They’re mismatched socks so there is a really good chance that I might reconnect TWO PAIRS here!

But as I’m about to move off, I’m suddenly overcome with dad guilt. It happens a lot. Who the hell am I to take Moose’s mittens off his obviously frostbitten Moose fingers?!

I slip them back on, gingerly, with a slight apologetic air.

I’m basically insane. You don’t have to remind me.

***

Also, just so you know: there are no kid socks under the lid of the wok I barely use on my stove.

I checked.

***

So, what happens to our kids’ missing socks then?

I’m here to tell you, to SHOW you that I’ve gone beyond what most parents ever do in trying to figure out the answer to this ancient annoying mystery. Yet, I’m humbled to admit that over the course of nearly three hours (we all have our limits), I really only chipped away at the side of the dark looming mountain.

I found three socks … count ’em: 3.

One had no match. It might not have even been one of my own kid’s socks for all I know.

The other two, they live on, they live a life of sock rebellion never gracing the feet of any kid of mine. They were assigned to a moose; they are worn by a putrid moose who lives in the front room.

It was all a waste of time. That’s the whole point here. Save yourself the trouble, my friends. Throw that whole pile of orphan singles in the trash. Or stick ’em on a stuffed animal’s mitts.

The socks are gone. No one knows where. But they’re not ever coming back again.

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