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the sock gnome

July 28, 2011

Somewhere in the house there lives a homunculus who hoards odd socks. He seems to get into the washing machine somehow and nick them. There’s probably a whole tribe of these sock gnomes, because my friends and family report the same problem – you put pairs of dirty socks in the laundry and often only one returns clean. You put the one somewhere to await reunion with its twin, but the errant article seldom shows up again.

Somewhere out of sight of human eyes the household sock gnome sits in his dome of assorted socks, on his soft bed of socks and plots his next robbery. Gleefully he contacts his gnomey chums in neighbouring houses and chats about the day’s “catch”. They chuckle as they speculate on the confusion and consternation they’ve caused, and lay bets as to who can create the most havoc. Will there be a search under dusty beds for a sock that – perhaps- didn’t make it to the wash basket? Will Tommy be scolded for not putting his clothese properly in the ‘dirties’ pile? Will Fido be accused of sock chewing again? What a great joke it is to think about the bulging bag of odd socks that grows ever plumper in the drawer or cupboard upstairs, as the weeks pass!

Sometimes a sock gnome relents a little. There is a season of goodwill, even in the world of these little folk. It isn’t the same as ours, of course – we don’t know for sure when it is. Perhaps they change it, just like our Easter moves about, but when it comes, they return a few socks, so the big people are kept wondering how they got where they did, and smiling at the quirkiness of life at times.

Occasionally the gnomes have competitions – who can return the most odd socks to the strangest places over the course of a year?

As well as the invisible gnomes who steal odd socks, we have a large, very useful and visible ‘sock gnome’ in our house. He pairs up all the washed socks and stows away the odd ones that await their twins. In his other life, he’s the man of our household, but with his bald head and grey beard he looks a bit gnomish.

The large sock gnome does a good job but those pesky little ones who hide so many of our socks are a bit of a trial!


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