The Papa Files
by VINCENT CARDEGIN
Award Winning Columnist
Sure, sure, I installed the new sink and faucet in the kitchen, and added three full shelves in one of the shrunks in the garage and replaced the four short wire shelves in the hall closet with deep lengths of plywood (both for my wife’s canning supplies and storage of pickles and such), and made a new attic door (really just a cover) so I could get rid of that crumbly rectangle of flocked sheet rock—I used two sections of three-quarter inch lightweight pressed, with hinges so I can fold it, and handles so I can hold it. Also this last week I covered one of the double tinted plastic windows of my wife’s lanai/artroom with a 5.5 by 6 foot sheet of quarter-inch ply, which she painted and then hung shelves on, and then today I hammer-drilled holes in the block walls and hung three more wooden shelves for her, plus some artwork and a clock, then later I dug a square hole in the backyard to erect the stand for the giant mailbox my sister painted for her and which she’ll use for storing her gloves and small tools after working in her garden. Right after I dug the hole (10ₕx12wx12l inches) and propped the stand with two one-by-twos to keep it level, lightning struck just behind our house, and the thunder was immediate, so we ran inside, our hairs on arms, back of the neck, and head prickling with fear and perhaps electricity. I noticed that none of the sparse hairs on the top of my scalp reacted at all. I was disappointed. After it stopped raining and the sky was cloudy with blue, I filled the hole with fast-setting concrete. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll attach the box. But none of that is really what’s on my mind. Mostly what I’ve been thinking about is my experiment with socks.
A couple of years ago I tried the same experiment, but I bought the wrong size. You know how big stores only sell sizes 9-11 and 12-14 stretchy socks. What that really means is they are 9 and 12 that can be painfully stretched to 11 and 14. I mistakenly bought 9-11, which of course shrinks to 8-8.5 after washing. I started the experiment as soon as I brought the package home, but I couldn’t wear them after their spin in the dryer; the darker heel was in the middle of my arch! But this time I bought 12-14, which shrinks to 9.5-10, and that’s perfect for me.
My theory is that socks, like leather shoes, will take on the shape of one’s foot over time, especially around the big toe. So with a Sharpie pen I marked half my socks with an L for Left. Why didn’t I mark the other half with an R? No need. Any blank sock is a right sock. I’ve been wearing and washing them for two weeks now, and so far I don’t see or feel a difference, mainly because they are not rounded to accommodate the curve of the human foot; clearly Exwork only buys and sells socks for people with two big toes, the second where the pinky toe is. Exwork socks are square-toed. Ages ago, when shoes were first invented, there was no distinction between left and right. Your leather shoes gradually conformed to your feet as you daily wore them. Then some unknown shoemaker decided to make them to fit specific feet, exact size, and left and right. Genus! I want socks to be sewn the same way. Hey, maybe I’ll start doing that. MeSocks! I promise I will not spend ridiculous amounts of time advertising on TV like the My Pillow guy.
In the meantime, if my theory and experiment fail, I’ll see if I can sneakily use my wife’s sewing machine to alter my test socks, only a little, to fit my feet. I just have to make sure I don’t sew the toe of an L sock as a right sock.