Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sock-Washing Mental Health Index

“…Nat, I say, don’t let them beat you down! You prove them wrong! When things get grummy, that’s when you have to hit all the sixes!”
Garen Ewing, The Rainbow Orchid, episode 9, strip 216

Executive Summary
I’ve invented a diagnostic tool for measuring a person’s CQ (Crazy Quotient) by determining the degree of crazy they devote to the sock washing practices. I call it the Sock Washing Ritual/Mental Health Index, or (SWR/MHI), and it enables diagnosticians to determine a person’s sanity by finding where they fit on Crazy Sock Scale (CSS).

Fifty percent of the (2) people studied in this research project reside in a private communal halfway house, and the other 50% are fully integrated into their community, although heavily supported by chemical depressants and other miracles of modern chemistry.

The institutional residents exhibit different symptoms, but share a similar, virtually paralyzing fear of losing socks in the wash.

One of them carefully ties the socks together into a knot before placing them in the hamper. My objection to this is that it seems to me that would trap toe dirt in the toe-side of the knot, preventing the dirt from falling out of the top of the sock as it tumbles around in the washing machine. The other asylum inmate, apparently having detected this very flaw in the logic of the knotted sock scenario, prefers to use a safety pin to connect the toes of each sock firmly together, presumably after wearing and before discarding socks in the hamper.

Then, at the other end of the CSS are locals encountered by the researcher outside of the grounds, who make it a practice never to wear a sock with it’s natural mate. Those crazy kids revel in the anarchy of mismatched socks. They flaunt their disdain of convention in public every time they step up onto their Segways. Or cross their legs sitting in those café chairs on the sidewalk outside Starbucks™, sipping their latte. Or recycle the soil on their green and living roof from toxic landfill,.. Smug hippy-wanna-bees, pathetically trying to prove your free spirit and distinguish yourselves from the rest of your compulsively-matching-sock-wearing cohort.

Or from the last generation of genuine rebels: your mommies and daddies, who made a few mistakes, but got America out of a previous imperialistic land-grab of an unjustified war against a weaker opponent. Ouch, that’s got to hurt. But not as much as their current Schoolyard Bully-in-Chief, so pull your socks up and get on with life.

For all the dark dreams that haunt my midnight hours, I’ve got an up-to-the-nanosecond cure for neurosis wrt/sock washing. Take a deep breath. Simply let the socks run free of their mates in the hamper-washer-dryer part of their life cycle. Down time is nice, even for such perfect mates as those “Mary-Blue” ™, Holly Hobby girlie socks with lace on the cuff, as is the case with people too, incidentally.

Throw caution to the harsh winds of the hot cycle. Let the perfectly matched pair anticipate their impending joyful reunion, amid that warm pile of clean laundry being sorted and folded on the bed every Sunday afternoon. Snuggling up in the cozy sock drawer, waiting to be worn, they reminisce about their time apart, and tell stories about how the underpants misbehave in the washer. Good times.

Now, you wouldn’t be wrong to worry about the down side. These are uncertain times. There’s the risk that one of the pair will be sucked through that hole in the space-time continuum beneath the dark, hypnotic swirl of the dryer. There’s a similar risk that one or more of the lone socks will be blown up by terrorists lurking outside. Your socks: like the snows of yesteryear, may never return. Each time they say their farewells as they’re tossed into the hamper, they know it might be there last.

But isn’t that half the fun? Life’s risk makes it taste sweeter. I submit that my socks are healthier and happier for being separated when washed and dried, I know I am. You should try it. It’s so crazy it just might work.

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