As I pulled my T-shirt down over my head, I thought I was being assaulted by some kind of small rodent or reptile.
Instead, it was an orange soccer sock with static cling.
It apparently had attached itself to the inside of my T-shirt while both were part of a load of laundry in the dryer.
I threw it across the room as if it had been an asp crawling into my armpit. “There it is,” said my nine-year-old grandson. “I’ve been looking for that for my game.”
And, of course, playing without the proper shade of sock in a peewee soccer game would probably be a major infraction — at least deserving a yellow card (they don’t have orange cards, right?) from the official.
It was blind luck we found that sock and that the game would now be able to go on without major incident.
As my wife and I recently baby-sat our three grandsons in Evansville, I couldn’t get over the crazy crush of clothes that these guys have. T-shirts … gym shorts … tennis shoes … school clothes …. in every drawer, corner, nook and cranny. They overflowed drawers and piled up in closets.
But socks, by far, were the most plentiful. They were everywhere — unmatched, unclaimed and often unwashed.
Many of them seemed to end up in a big basket in the laundry room where old socks apparently went off to die and younger ones must have been looking for a mate. Fat chance in finding one (although they did seem to be multiplying on a daily basis).
We’re not talking dozens. We’re talking hundreds — all colors, all styles and all textures.
“I’m not sure which ones to wash,” my wife said. “The way they’re all mixed up, I can’t tell the clean ones from the dirty ones.”
My mom would have had an apoplectic fit had she seen this sock sacrilege. She was a stickler for neat sock drawers and she insisted that my siblings and I match up our socks and neatly fold one over the other to make nice little balls. (They were at least good for shooting baskets in the coat hanger goal above my bedroom door when a Nerf ball couldn’t be found.)
That’s probably one of the reasons that I have only bought two colors of socks — white and black — throughout my adult life. Easier to match that way.
My mom’s kind of footwear fetish apparently skipped a generation … or two … or three if my grandsons in Evansville are the measurement.
While the housecleaner made her weekly cruise through my older son and daughter-in-law’s house, I asked her how she handled the sock quagmire. “Fortunately, my job description doesn’t include the boys’ rooms,” she said. “And in the laundry room, I just try to pile them up like a pyramid or something.”
It is as if my grandsons are little millipedes with a hundred feet to clothe.
“You know that orange sock you found in your shirt?” my youngest grandson asked a little later. “Now I need to find the other one before my game.”
“Good luck on that,” I answered. “Maybe I could just paint one of your legs orange.”
He looked at me as if he wanted to … well, sock me.