The house of odd socks

This is a little light relief from all the miserable stuff I've been posting recently.

For several years now, every load of washing, when removed from the washing machine, has contained at least two odd socks. I put these odd socks in an Odd Sock Bag. Or, rather, I used to. But the Odd Sock Bag has been full for quite some time now, and still odd socks appear with every washing load.

From time to time, I assign a teenager to the job of sorting out the Odd Socks Bag, pairing up the socks and returning them to their owners. Teenagers do a reasonable job, but for some reason they never manage to  empty the bag. In fact they rarely manage to eliminate more than half the odd socks. The rest remain in the bag in the hope that at some time in the future, their pair will be found.

It has become apparent to me that the socks that most resist being paired are mine and my daughter's. My son and my partner both pair up their own socks prior to washing them, and theirs seldom go missing. Now, I admit I don't pair my socks up for washing because I don't think they wash well if I do. And my daughter is just chaotic, so it is truly amazing if ANY of her socks can be paired. But I always put my socks in the washing basket in pairs, and I usually hang them up to dry in pairs, too. So why, oh why, are there always so many odd socks?

Recently I donned protective clothing and entered my daughter's room. I cleared it of the clothes strewn all over every surface, and consigned most of them to the wash. It was amazing how many of MY clothes were there - including rather a lot of socks.

It seems that my magpie daughter has been borrowing my socks. But she doesn't wear socks in pairs. She has made a virtue out of necessity: since she never has any pairs of socks, she wears ODD socks. Including mine, it seems.

The trouble is, when she comes along and grabs clean socks at random from the washing, she is as likely to take socks that do have a pair as those that don't. And in so doing, she creates even more odd socks. So the proliferating odd socks appear to be - partly, at least - due to my daughter's liking for wearing odd socks.

I have now given up the unequal struggle. No way can I compete with my daughter's disorderliness. The  principle of entropy applies: socks will inevitably tend towards oddness. Fighting that would take more energy than I wish to expend on anything so boringly domestic.

Today, I went to work wearing odd socks.

Update. I have been comprehensively trumped by Paul Lewis. The Second Law of Thermodynamics can't stand up to the quantum physics of odd socks. Simply wonderful.


  1. You can buy odd socks to avoid losing the battle with sock entropy.

  2. From Lord Sutch's friends and

  3. Luckily for me, my socks don't yet fit my son. Because whereas there's no reason to think he likes odd socks, there's equally no reason to think that he ever notices whether his socks match or not.

  4. "socks will inevitably tend towards oddness" haha, I love it! You must feel so liberated :D

    Here's a talk you might like ;-)

    "The Improprieties of the Pretense of Knowledge" (Ignore the Cato sign)


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