At my house, either by my cunning skills, super powers resulting from exposure to a bottle of radioactive fabric softener, or just sheer dumb luck, I have somehow managed to inherit the coveted title of Official Laundry Person. What that means for you average laymen is that I am in charge of doing the majority of the laundry for the household.
With great power comes great responsibility, and I do not take this charge lightly. I patrol the perimeters constantly and schedule laundry sessions several times a week, to keep the city…..ah, I mean house, clean of all dirty laundry.
However, that does not always mean that the process is without its share of problems. Occasionally I may unknowingly drop an article of clothing on the trip down to the basement where the laundry is located. There are two possible outcomes:
1. I find the article of clothing as I ascend the stairs, I turn around, annoyed, and add it to the current wash load, or
2. I fail to see the article, which means it is not picked up and added to the current wash load, meaning it will likely (hopefully) be found on the next trip downstairs. This is typically what happens, but is also a highly unfavorable and even dangerous possibility. If this occurs, it could actually disrupt the schedule severely, resulting in a gradual ripple effect which could cause a rip in the fabric of Time and thus catastrophically and permanently alter the order of the universe. Imagine biblical plagues, the creation of infinite alternate timelines, politicians suddenly switching political parties, dogs and cats living together, etc. Real Old Testament-type stuff. A horrific picture indeed.
Thankfully this has not yet come to pass. However there is a recurring anomaly that seems to occur frequently, and for which our crack team of scientists cannot yet explain.
They seem to randomly disappear, without rhyme nor reason, on a rather frequent basis.
Normally when a load is removed from the washer and placed inside the dryer, it contains several pairs of two identical socks. And yet, an hour or so later when the load is retrieved from the dryer, there is invariably at least one pair with one sock missing. Our scientific experts refer to this phenomenon as “The Thunderdome Effect”: Two socks enter, one sock leaves.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls……dryin’ time’s here.
To be fair, we’ve done extensive research on the causes of this phenomenon, and in some cases the missing sock(s) has/have actually been discovered later, clinging to a shirt or blouse, a pair of underwear, and on more than one occasion, inadvertently dropped on the floor when the load was retrieved from the dryer. Since we have a basement that resembles the Mississippi River whenever we have a hard rain, this sometimes results in what we commonly refer to as ‘soggy sock”. (“Careful Bob, don’t get too close. Looks like Ray’s got a bad case of the ‘soggy sock.”) These type socks naturally must be re-laundered, since they have been known to cause what we refer to as “soggy foot”. Don’t let its rather enticing name fool you; soggy sock/soggy foot is a rather undesirable and uncomfortable sensation. Four out of five podiatrists recommend you avoid it at all costs.
Conversely, there are also cases of vanishing footwear that, to date, cannot be explained by modern science. A small group of scientists have hypothesized that there may be some sort of unknown mysterious vortex, a “Bermuda Triangle” or “black hole” present in some dryers which absorbs the fabric entirely, obliterating it from existence. Others theorize that the socks are actually physically still there, but have somehow been rendered completely invisible to the naked eye.
And finally there is the most controversial group; some call them “The Shawshank Boys”, others refer to them as “The Seinfeld Four. Their hypothesis is that these disappearances are simply the work of disgruntled socks who feel they have been given a raw deal or a bum rap, have decided that life in the dryer is not for them, and they have banded together and planned an escape. This is usually accomplished by hiding inside the door behind an old movie poster of Rita Hayworth or Raquel Welch, waiting until the last article of clothing is removed, and in that split second before the door is closed, they dash outside to freedom. They are sometimes caught and herded back to be united with their mate, but there are many who successfully escape and are never seen again. (with the exception of a very small few who are discovered years later, stuck to the back of the dryer near the bottom, their mummified remains covered in lint. A moment of silence for the fallen, if you please.)
These are the braves ones. The ones who risk their lives, their very sole, for one chance, just one chance at freedom. They have a name too, a name that is spoken of only in hushed tones and with reverence at social gatherings, a name that is sometimes uttered in awe by their descendants, with chins high and chests outward, by the orange-yellow flickering light of late-night campfires.
They are called…”The Ones That Got Away”.
A moment of silence, if you please.