Socks cover your feet, most often before placing shoes on. Socks can also be received or placed on someone, maybe, not happy with something you/they said or did (as in a sock to the jaw). Socks come in pairs, as shoes do. So, what do socks have to do with regret in my life? I think socks can be another metaphor for things that come in pairs, that seem unusable when one is missing and only one remains as a symbol of what used to be.
However, there are uses for a lone sock. My mother used to keep a “little extra” in a sock stuffed in her garter held stocking with the top of the sock folded over the outside of the stocking to secure the precious coins and bills carefully hidden there. I first discovered her secret when she decided to take the four of us, my three brothers and myself, to see Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” at the movie theatre.
I walked to the ticket window of the theatre with Mom as my brothers excitedly waited together at the wide windowed door entrance. Their eyes aglow and feet unable to remain still as they observed the other patrons buying popcorn, hotdogs, drinks and candy before the next surreptitious entrance into the darkened seated tiers behind the next set of doors. As today, for anything waited for, the prices had increased for this movie and Mom had only a certain amount of money in the ready to pay for our tickets. As she stepped out of line to move to a darkened corner of the arched building front, I watched in horror as she turned her back to the busy gathering and lifted the hem of her dress to the top of her stockinged left leg as she pulled out the socked away stash. As she let her dress fall back into place and my embarrassment eased, she calmly and coolly, stepped back in line and paid for our tickets. If she saw my mortification, she did not recognize it.
Another memory of that experience is that after the infamous shower scene where we endured the shock of Janet Leigh’s character being murdered (unheard of, at that time, where an A-Lister is bumped off early in the story line), audible screams and moans could be heard throughout the theater, above that never-to-be-forgotten sound track of the knife’s fatal blows. We were all scared silly. My brothers seemed to take the scene pretty well, scared, but in control. However, when the detective, played by Martin Balsam, was accosted on the stairs with the same, screeching sound track, my oldest brother disappeared. We found him under the seats of the theatre. To this day I cannot figure out how he managed to get his ten-year-old body under those seats.
There is another meaning for the word when used to impress – as in “to knock the socks off.” The word in that phase, so used, can be an attribute: in the workplace (as in making a great presentation), in the fashion world (as in the look of a well put together garment), or in the public presentation of oneself (as in the looks of beautiful people of the fashion world, silver screen or television). Some are born with the type of beauty that literally takes one’s breath away (or knocks your socks off). I’ve met those in my life that were blessed with that kind of beauty and I can say that it worked for the betterment of some, but, for others, it worked as a detriment. They reached their peak in high school or college but could not retain that same glory regarding their looks and/or impressive skills in sports, such as track, basketball or football. Or, for others, their physical beauty simply and quickly faded naturally. Some of the beautiful people I knew got drawn into the dark side, caught into that kind of lifestyle where the blazing light of their beauty was eventually squashed, a slow smothering their brightness until it dimmed and flickered out. Unfortunately, in my day, nerds did not receive the respect they do today, unless they were beautiful nerds.
Physical beauty can therefore be a blessing or a curse. Today’s society puts so much prestige in beauty, if I could choose, would I select inner or outer beauty? My granddaughter often compares her looks to her friends and companions (the size of her butt, breasts and even the shape of her eyebrows!). She didn’t get that trait from me, at least I hope not. I cannot convince her that she is unique and that being perfect does not ensure a good and happy life. Inner beauty cannot be easily described. There is an effect on the outer looks that the calmness, honesty and goodness of inner beauty that enhances. I would like to think that I would choose inner beauty; however, come to think about it, once you have the outer, you have the option of working on the inner.
I’ve only socked someone once in my life and that was when a younger me had to beat up the neighborhood bully to protect my brothers. I wear mated socks around the house for warmth, in winter especially. Mated socks go into my tennis shoes. Some women wear socks with heels and manage to pull it off and look good doing so.
So what so I do with one single sock? When a sock disappears in the dryer, do I trip regarding one unmated sock as I did/do regarding one silken shoe? Heck no!