THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: On Probabilities and the Alphabet - Part 1

Friday, April 21, 2006

On Probabilities and the Alphabet - Part 1

This entry will eventually be about the alphabet. And probabilities. In each case, sort of.

But first, in the category of True Confessions, here is another:


OK. So the magazine cover may have been misleading. But what I've confessed is true. And consider this. My undersocks are mostly cotton and partly lycra-spandex. I purchased all of them from Target. Most of them are white (or were white, at least, before I washed them with my dark-coloured oversocks).

Each time I bought some I bought several packages; each package contained two pairs of these socks. The packaging for each of the pairs was identical, but the socks in each package were not. Each pair is at least a little unique. On some pairs, the toes are sort of cross-hatched and tightly woven. On some pairs, the heel pad is thicker than on others. On some pairs, the support for the ball of the foot is narrow. On some pairs the support for the ball of the foot is reasonably thick.

As an aside, these are women's socks (perhaps that part should have been the "true confession" part of this entry). Men's socks don't work for undersocks on my feet. They're too big. Not tight. Not that my feet are that small. I wear size 9.5 or size 10, depending on the shoe. But men's socks in big-box discount retail stores (where I prefer to shop) are generally sized to fit most men's feet (size 11-13, etc.). Actually, now that I think about it, maybe that the socks are women's socks explains why each of the pairs is different? Women's personalities tend to fluctuate so much from day to day. Maybe their feet change too?

But I digress ... so back to our story.

My brain has been trained in matters legal. Brains trained in matters legal are programmed to identify and solve problems. My brain noticed that sorting my undersocks either was not successful or took a very long time to achieve. And as a certified, card-carrying anal retent, it doesn't work for me to have the undersock on my left foot not match the undersock on my right foot. So the situation I found myself in often enough for my brain to identify it as a problem was spending a long time matching up the undersocks. Upon the occurrence of part 1 -- recognizing that a problem existed -- my brain shifted over to part 2 -- solving the problem.

First I remembered how my mother trained me to solve this problem: safety pins. When I was younger (say, 10 to 12 years old), my mother did my laundry for me. But she would not wash my socks unless I had safety pinned each foot's sock to the other foot's sock. This way the socks stayed in pairs and made for easy sorting after the washing was complete.

Not unexpectedly, I still have some of the pre-adolescence/adolescensce resistance to admitting that was a good idea and that it would be an effective way to solve my problem (i.e., the large time commitment required to adequately sort my undersocks). Plus I didn't have enough safety pins at the house the day my brain decided I needed to solve this problem so I couldn't have implemented that solution even had it otherwise been satisfactory.

So my brain thought of another solution (and here comes the alphabet part of this post). I washed all my undersocks. I dried all my undersocks. And I undertook to sort all my undersocks. I found adequate natural light (I had previously discovered that the lighting in my closet and our master bedroom was inadequate to allow for accurate sorting). I blocked out, mentally, enough time to do the job right. I committed to the process. And I implemented the solution my brain recommended.

Each time I successfully matched a left undersock to a right undersock, using a blunt-tipped black Sharpie permanent marker, I wrote large capital letters on the various socks; e.g., I wrote a large "A" on the left sock of the first pair I identified and a large matching "A" on the right sock of the first pair I identified. Then a large "B" on the left sock of the second pair I identified and a large matching "B" on the right sock of the second pair I identified. And so on.

This solution worked (and had the added benefit of being psychologically and emotionally acceptable to my not-fully actualized brain). I reduced my sock sorting time dramatically. And I materially improved my comfort, both mental and physical, in that now when I grab a tightly-balled pair of undersocks from my drawer in the morning, I have every confidence that I will find matching undersocks. And I have not yet been disappointed.

The other morning, though (and here we get to the probabilities part of this entry), I picked the pair of undersocks on which I had written the letters "Q." When I unwrapped the tightly-balled pair of undersocks, I was struck immediately by the brightness and the crispness of the lettering on this pair of undersocks. I can't remember that I have ever worn the "Q" pair of undersocks since the day I wrote the letters on the undersocks. Which got me thinking, idly, how that was possible.

I wrote the letters on the socks last summer (I think). I've done my laundry at least one dozen times since then (sometimes I wear more than one pair of undersocks in a day, especially if I practise juggling). And I've not intentionally shunned the pair of undersocks with "Q" written on them.

Below is a photograph of the pair of undersocks with the letter "Q" on them. And for comparison, next to those undersocks is the pair of undersocks with the letter "F" on them. Look at the road wear on the "F" pair. Those suckers have been walked hard and put away soiled a time or two, it seems. By the way, I did not yet launder the pair of socks with the letter "Q" on them; the photograph represents the condition of the lettering on the day I made my observation that perhaps I'd not worn this pair before.

Photo Credits: here (for the magazine). The photo of the undersocks is courtesy of Garrett's personal archives.


Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

What the hell is an undersock??? Is it a sock you wear under your real socks? What is the purpose? Don't socks already fulfill that purpose? Do you do your own wash? Do you wear any other women's clothing? Do you like wearing women's clothing? Does it make you feel sexy to wear women's undersocks? Do you like gladiator movies?

7:00 PM, April 20, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

SPAM = 8


He's making a move, people. He's making a move.

And no, I have never been inside a Turkish prison.

7:09 PM, April 20, 2006  
Blogger Erin O'Brien said...

"You can't handle the truth"

That is correct. I cannot.


9:30 AM, April 21, 2006  
Blogger Denny Shane said...

garrett... fellow Texan... can I say something here? I know I don't visit often but I think you have put way way way too much thought into your socks...

I use to have this problem, but I chucked all of my socks and never wear them anymore.

9:47 AM, April 21, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...


SPAM = 9


The dumb spam that just showed up shouldn't really count as a whole spam. Why did it select the third or fourth post from the top to desecrate?

12:53 AM, April 26, 2006  

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