Monday, September 24, 2012

Socks: Just where do they go?

I have fallen in with many people in my years on the internet, but none more fascinating that the splendid chaps who run Socked, a sock subscription service. You heard. Save yourself the bother of looking for lost socks - or even washing them - with a steady supply on gentlemen's sockery coming through your letterbox. As businesses go, it is either genius or mad. I think it is both.

As the Socked press release thudded into email inboxes the world over to screams of both delight and horror (I myself felt a great disturbance in The Force, as if a million voices cried out "Socks!" at once, then silence...), my eye was drawn to a question they posed in the "Notes to Editors" section: Just where do lost socks end up?

It is a question that has vexed mankind for as long as socks have existed, and the answer - you will be unsurprised to hear - is so much more than "in a corner under your bed, what kind of bloody stupid question is that?" As even the most lax of observers will tell you: Even numbers of matching socks go in the wash, odd numbers of entirely different footwear come out. WHAT IS GOING ON?

We've set our lab rats onto this problem, and, as you'd expect from any delve into pseudo-scientific quackery, the solution involves a mix of chaos theory, relativity, Schroedingers Cat, quantum mechanics and some impressive looking guff with loads of long words we pulled out of our backside.

And the answer we have come up with is this:


That's right. It's still there, and you are just looking at it with a set of eyes that ignores at least eight - possibly nine - dimensions, depending on which version of brane theory is in vogue this week. It has, in fact, temporarily slipped sideways into a nearby parallel version of the planet Earth, and will return when it is quite ready, thank you very much.

You may be surprised that this phnomenon even exists, but it is far more common than you think: It is also the reason the barman never sees you in a busy pub; and also how major corporations hide the small print when you accidentally sign your children into slavery down the salt mines. It has happened to us all at some stage in our lives.

One of the side effects to this, however, may be less than satisfactory. Residents of these parallel Earths are deluged with tens of millions of odd socks to the point that they were willing to resort to coss-dimensional warfare as soon as the technology becomes available. Reports that they have made a planet-killing bomb out of an unlaundered sock cannot be discounted.

Odd socks will be the doom of this society, mark my words.

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