The simplicity of the premise promised success-- eliminate the sock population and replenish it with twenty identical pairs from the local discount mart. The mental pain and anger that once consumed me when I opened the drawer disappeared. Now when I opened it, a sense of great pride filled my soul, made me whole. I accomplished what no other living man could accomplish. I conquered the sock drawer.
For six months.
The stability of the system started to flounder one fine summer day. My fiance, Christine, stayed over at my apartment for a weekend and took me clothes shopping. A new pair of nice tan shorts found themselves in my shopping cart-- I needed socks to match. Overconfident from my victories so far, I piled in a six-pack of tan socks. The drawer became a heterogeneous mishmash of colors.
A month or two later, I counted my socks and found an odd number. Fear struck me silent. I sat down on the bed and cried. I found some of Christine's socks on the floor. I called her at work and complained, but she, like my family and friends thought I was joking. ``Surely, you can't care that much about socks,'' she would ask. But I did. My life fell into ruins. My sock system crashed.
Somehow, I eventually stabilized the sock mess again. I removed Christine's rogue socks from the premises and evened the remaining numbers. The sock drawer sung in harmony again. Learned from my mistakes, I started to win victory after victory over them. They fell silent, humbled by my absolute power. Months later, I trusted them enough to take a road trip; I moved in with Christine.
By now, she understood that I meant business and respected the plan I set into motion so long ago. We kept separate sock drawers to prevent cross-matching, an especially difficult task as we only owned one dresser with four drawers total. Our life was good and my feet were warm. Victory seemed assured..
Until three months later. Christine works full-time and I work from home-- I had become very lonely with only my socks to keep me company. I visited the local animal shelter and adopted an adorable Cocker mix named Hansel. Since they neutered him, I renamed him to Unix and took him home. He first weeks were like any other puppy's, I suppose; he ran through our two bedroom apartment like it was a five acre field, wagged his tail and chased the cats. He seemed care free. However, this was all merely an act to cover up his diabolical scheme: the complete and utter destruction of my feet warmers.
He loves socks more than hamburgers, cake and cat combined. Like a feral wolf, he tears the socks from their very fabric in violent fits of head shaking. No amount of scolding and other forms of doggy obedience could erase his desire for the (supposedly?) tasty snack. Somewhere in the back of his doggy mind exists the instinct or intelligence to realize that socks are a threat to doggies everywhere. Lacking the canine's genes, I can not begin to understand the logic behind this survival mechanism.
Today, I opened the sock drawer. Three socks. One white, one tan and one black. I don't even remember where the black sock came from. Christine had just done laundry this week, surely I must have more. I didn't and I don't. The hamper was full of her socks and contained none of mine. I own three socks.
The sock experiment failed. And, as I sit at my desk writing this, Unix is keeping my bare feet warm, chewing on a sock. He's a more than adequate replacement.