Month: October 2007

Socks and Other Lies

While I sit here self-medicating my latest infection of my semi-impacted wisdom tooth with bourbon, I cogitate upon my terrible predicament. More than a predicament. A problem. Possibly with a capital P. Maybe more than that. An Issue? What it amounts to is warfare.

Like most normal people, I wear socks. In my never-ending quest to never ever think about clothing, I have attempted to constrict my sock selection to a single type: the übersock. Gray toe, gray heel, and “HANES” written on the gray section of the toe. The goal is that no matter what two socks I grab from my drawer, it will always be a matching pair. Much to KrisDi’s chagrin, Hanes apparently makes these socks with both red and dark gray HANES text on the toe. I look on this as a good thing — the difference is acceptable. Necessary, quite likely. I think of it as the male and female of the sock world. Much like in human sexuality, only one in ten random pairs of übersocks is comprised of two socks of the same gender.

This is a lovely theory. However, in practice, inferior socks sneak into the population. Untersocks. Non-conformists. Rebels. Whether these untersocks are gifted to me by well-meaning friends and family, or necessitated by United Airlines’ consistent policy of luggage-losing, or are trans-dimensional illegal immigrants sneaking in through the dryer, they keep showing up. The solution is clear, of course: Attrition through aggressive enslavement.

Thus came about my policy of sock segregation. The untersocks are assigned the front line of the sock drawer; after all, they’re the most dispensable. Organizationally, this presents a problem, because the untersocks are characterized by their peculiarity and must, by definition, travel in matched pairs. Once they’re in front, they should be first socks selected for hazardous duties, and so become the first casualties of wear.

Again, in theory, consistent adherence to this policy should solve my problem. Once again, theory fails me. I think the untersocks may be on to my cunning plan — or maybe they just cannibalize the übersocks. Since the inception of this policy, no fewer than three pairs — PAIRS — of übersocks have expired, and not a single solitary untersock.

The next step is concentration drawers. However, I lack the real estate. I have no spare drawers into which I can confine the untersocks, and therefore must consider conquering or otherwise acquiring neighboring furniture…

Also, I may have to abolish theories. They’re obviously no good. From now on, I think I’ll skip that step and go straight to scientific fact.

———— ANyway… ————

My dad likes to lie to children. It’s one of the things about him I love most. I was telling the story of some of my father’s stories today. Here are the ones I remember best:

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As you drive across this dam, you can see the weird little fish runs on the dry side. One day, we were driving across the dam when the fish runs were filled with water, with an eight-year-old passenger. He saw the fish runs and asked what they were. Dearest Father, ever knowledgeable, answered with absolute aplomb, “Those are the tracks they use for the Fish Olympics every four years — distance races, sprints, hurdles, even an obstacle course.”

Little kid’s jaw dropped…”Really?”

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We were in a waterpark in Florida, waiting in line for a water slide. Dear Father turned to the kid behind us to share his latest nugget of wisdom.

“You know, they have fish in these waterslides, and if you catch one and show it to the lifeguard at the bottom of the slide, you’ll get a free one-day pass to the park!”

Stranger kid looks up at him in mild horror and shaky disbelief.

“They can tell whether they’re really their fish by the bar codes they have printed on the sides of them. They’re called bar-acudas.”

Evidence of mild horror and shaky disbelief intensifies. Dad proceeds to advise the kid on exactly how to catch the bar-acudas: “If you go down the slide on your heels and fingertips with your fingers outspread like -so-, you’ll have a better chance of snagging one!”

I don’t think the kid completely bought it (props to the kid – it’s hard to disbelieve a respectable looking adult stranger), but they woman we had gone to the park with looked at Pa in the deepest amazement, breathing, “Really?”

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We went to the zoo in Minneapolis. As we leaned against a railing looking at the moose exhibit, some mother unwisely looked away from her child in the vicinity of my revered father.

“You know, Minneapolis is actually way too cold for a zoo. None of the animals would survive — that’s why they have these robots instead.”

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Another time, we visited Yellowstone. As we stood around waiting for Old Faithful (near the visitor center), Dad started a conversation with a kid near us. “You know, Old Faithful stopped erupting years and years ago. But the state wanted to keep tourism revenue up. You see that big building over there?” he said, gesturing toward the visitor center. “They built a humongous boiler under there and set it to go off at regular intervals. It also provides electricity for most of the state.”

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And, of course, the grandaddy of them all (Northwood hates this one)…

We went to the Wisconsin Dells. As you drive around, you’re likely to see these things. Little Northwood asked, “Dad, what are those things?”

“Well son, those are the Wisconsin Rat Traps. They’re so big because Wisconsin has such gigantic rats.”

“Nuh-uh!”

And an argument raged, along the lines of, “Are not!” “Are too!” for a fairly long time.

Then we went to dinner. This is where it gets shady. I went to the bathroom, and on my way back, I see Dad, suspiciously talking to our waitress in a darkened back room. I swear I saw money change hands.

Back at the table… “Go ahead, Northwood, ask the waitress what those things are.” Northwood proceeds to do so.

“Why, those are the Wisconsin Rat Traps! We have such huge rats around here,” declares our innocent-looking waitress. “We load them up with corn to lure the rats in…”

To this day (seriously, I brought it up to Dad today), Dad denies any bribery.

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