Since I am utterly confused about yesterday’s failed bailout of Wall Street – was it a bad idea? Was it a good idea? Who really knows? – and I was further boggled by the fact that Our Government has injected a further $630 billion into the global financial system since yesterday (thereby making me wonder …um… why, exactly, we needed to have a $700 billion Wall Street bailout in the first place), I have decided to turn my overheated mind to one of humankind’s great, unsolved mysteries:
Where do socks go?
Anyone who has ever owned a pair of socks knows that, inevitably, one of the pair will go missing.
Last year I had to toss out no less than 40 pathetic, unmatched, wretched single socks. I hated to do it, but I’d waited nearly a decade for their wayward mates to return to the fold. Finally, the situation was critical. I could not wedge even one more pair of socks into my overstuffed sock drawer, which refused to close completely. Critical mass had been reached.
My useless, unmatched single socks gazed at me mournfully. I could hear their tiny, piping voices in my mind, begging me to reconsider one more time, to please-please-please give their long-lost mates one more chance to come home. “Remember the Prodigal Sock!” they cried. But I hardened my heart and tossed them into the week’s trash for disposal. At least, I thought sadly, most of them were made of cotton or wool and will, someday, biodegrade and become part of the Great Circle of Life. The few that weren’t – those sleek, cheap synthetics and synthetic blends – will be around to witness the end of the world as we know it, albeit from the middle of some massive land-fill.
It occurs to me now that I could have sewn them all together into a warm sweater, or perhaps a toasty sofa-throw to wrap up in during the chillier months of winter. But I don’t know how to sew. As a fledgling feminist with high principles, I rejected my high school home economics class point-blank and learned to macramé badly instead, reasoning that I could never have enough plant-hangers. Today, when a button falls off my shirt, the gap remains forever (but that’s another story). It’s all very sad.
Since last year’s single-sock-disposal-day, roughly 17 more of my coupled socks have joined the forlorn ranks of the unmated. So far, this is merely an annoyance, as I’ve refused to welcome any new sock-pairs at all into my home since the purge. It’s just too hard on all of us. But I’ve noticed that they’re disappearing at a far faster rate than they used to. This is disconcerting, to say the least.
And then last night, the answer to the mystery came to me as if in a dream. OK, it was a dream.
If you have a cat, perhaps you’ve noticed that roughly once a day it seemingly goes crazy. He or she will wake suddenly from a sound slumber atop a pile of clean, warm laundry (or the sofa) and spring into action, wide-eyed and alert. Tail slashing in a tiger-like manner, your cat crouches, ears pricked forward, a look of unleashed savagery on her face. She springs, pounces, and crouches again, looking this way and that, before hurtling to the other end of the room, her paws pounding the floor like an elephant stampeding across the veldt. She scuttles and slides beneath desks and china cabinets where she hides craftily, waiting for her moment, then flings herself into the fray and pounces again, only to shoot off in another direction, her tail fuzzed like a bottle-brush. This can go on for some minutes. Finally, exhausted, she returns to your freshly laundered-and-dried pile of clothes, climbs wearily to the top and passes out for the rest of the day.
This odd behavior in housecats has also, like missing socks, long been a mystery. What are they chasing? My friends, because of my illuminating dream, I know the answer.
Your deceptively lazy cat is after griskins. These are tiny, mischievous and frequently malicious wee beings, the embarrassing third cousins once removed of the legendary faerie-folk. Invisible to humans but far from imaginary, griskins can be blamed for most household calamities and disasters. Griskins are the ones who meddle with your coffeemaker in the night, rendering it non-responsive when you get up at 5 a.m. desperately needing a cup of hot coffee to jolt you into the shower so you can get cleaned up and ready for work. They turn off your alarm clock after you go to sleep. They muck up the icemaker in the freezer so it won’t dispense ice into your glass when you need it the most. If you’re looking for your fingernail clippers, they’re the ones who hid them. Can’t find that eyebrow pencil? Lost your car keys? Has the measuring-thingy for your egg-cooker disappeared?
In my dream I learned that housecats have a Sacred Duty to try, at least once a day, to catch and kill griskins. Believe it or not, cats are the only creatures on Earth with the ability to actually see the little suckers. So it’s to the humble housecat that we owe our thanks and unending gratitude for a world that hasn’t completely collapsed into total chaos. Yet.
And here’s the rub: It’s griskins who cruelly separate our poor socks from their hapless mates and spirit them away.
What do they do with them, you ask?
Now, I know this is going to be hard to believe, but being a person who rarely experiences such visionary dreams without the aid of several slices of cold, pepperoni-studded pizza right before bed, I’m convinced of the truth of what I’m about to tell you. Take a nice deep breath, be sure you’re seated and please, please open your mind. As you know, truth is often far stranger than fiction.
Griskins steal our socks from the washing machine, the dryer, the laundry basket and the sock drawer in order to give them to the dragons, who pay them with stolen gold coins, tiny emerald and ruby chips, and the occasional paste necklace, since griskins aren’t much interested in value, only glitteryness, like crows, and dragons are cheats, I’m sorry to say.
The dragons live in the next dimension over, but they, like the griskins, occasionally cross over just to create a little havoc and steal a little more treasure with which to pay the griskens for the stolen socks. And the griskins only steal one sock at a time because if they stole actual mated pairs, we might catch on.
Why do dragons need socks? I just knew you’d ask.
It seems that baby dragons, upon hatching, have no claws. That means the tiny finger-like things on the “hands” at the ends of their stunted front legs (we’ll call them “arms” in this discussion for the sake of clarity), and their much larger, longer toes are vulnerable, tender and completely unprotected.
And our socks fit over their long fingers and toes perfectly.
So, see, the mama-dragons use the stolen socks as protection for their dragon-children’s fingers and toes until they grow claws and their scaly skin hardens up. They need many different sizes of socks, too, because of course dragons come in many varieties and they grow very slowly. Why, an infant dragon might take a century to reach young teen-hood, when his claws finally start coming in.
So the socks are vital to the mama dragons, and since they can’t knit (presumably they, too, refused to take home ec), the griskins steal our socks and rake in the profits. It’s a heckuva racket, just like Wall Street financiers in our own dimension. Isn’t that amazing?
And oh – by the way: If any of my kind readers can explain that $630 billion – the other bailout – to me, I’d be greatly appreciative. Thank you so much in advance.