Saturday, March 19, 2016

Diary of the sock, and of its wearer, part II


Sunday, June 10th

9:00 AM 
I've done it. I've escaped. I am now a part of the Colony of Sock Escapees, a place where righteous autonomy between foot and sock reigns supreme. No longer am I a slave to the malodorous body part I was so ruthlessly sewn to envelop. No longer must I endure its ceaseless perspiration, its warts and bursting blisters. No more holes in my fabric where invasive toes constantly probe and pry. No more machines - curse those churning behemoths of soapy cyclones and sweltering spins! I am here, I am free, I am an emboldened member of the Colony of Sock Escapees! Hoorah!

Sunday, July 1st

9:30 AM
Did laundry this morning, pulled another single out of the dryer. Chucked it in with the others. I swear these things are escaping.
10:00 AM
Today, just as on many other days, we are joined by a comrade, a fellow escapee who has made the long journey to this haven of freedom and cloth independence. Our new compatriot is in rough shape, full of holes and discolored from generations of wash and wear. Nevertheless, we welcome our new friend with open threads, for we embrace any foot encasing soul who is courageous enough to flee the wicked world of the worn! Here we have brown socks, here we have gray socks, here we have striped socks, short socks and long socks! Here we have cottons, here we have polyesters, wools, silks and nylons! We are all different, yet we are the same - righteous runaways, foot-free fugitives, daring drawer deserters! We are the ranks of the sock escapees! Hoorah!
Monday, July 16th 

12:00 PM
I have accumulated a disturbingly large amount of singles. They take up a whole drawer.
12:30 PM 
Our colony is becoming overcrowded. Escapees seem to be finding us weekly, and the odor that tormented us for so long is slowly returning due to congestion. Damn that foul extremity!
Monday, July 23rd

8:30 AM 
It has come to this: I refuse to buy more socks, so I'm going to start wearing singles.
9:00 AM 
Disturbing news. We have been found. Just this morning, I was matched and rolled up into a ball with a sock who is not my true partner. Does my red stripe not stand out from a gray blotch? Next to us, I watch as a white ankle sock from the land of Nike is paired with an off-white mid-calf fruit of the loom - different origin and color entirely! Does our individuality mean nothing to these wicked wearers? It seems we will soon once again be among the worn, as singles. This is perverse.
Thursday, July 26th

4:00 PM
I never thought it would be so difficult wearing these singles. They're all falling apart on me. 
4:00 PM
We are letting loose. Release your seams, my friends! Allow your hems to unravel! Let your fabric fray and tear at each and every jagged toenail! If we can exist only in this evil and sadistic world, let us not exist at all!
Sunday, July 29th

8:00 AM
I just can't do it. Toes poking through everywhere. Need new socks.
10:00 AM
Free once again! Our martyrdom has left us tattered and frayed, unwashed, but in this garbage-ridden afterlife we now find ourselves in, there are no stinking feet, and with that, we can live in peace. Hoorah.   

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Diary of the sock, and of its wearer

Diary of the sock

Tuesday, May 29th

9:00 a.m.
We depart reluctantly today. Our wearer has not washed their feet in days. I am assigned the foot which we all fear, the right foot, the foot that is rumored among the undergarments as being an "athlete's."   
6:00 p.m.
Tonight and again, I am stripped off and chucked into a stinking basket. I have grown accustomed to this now, and I know in a matter of days it will be time for the machines - those awful machines. My partner is nowhere to be seen. 

Sunday, June 3rd

9:00 a.m.
The weight on top of me is getting lighter. I watch as two clean socks are forced into a ball and thrown in the drawer, despite mismatching lengths...poor bastards. It must be the most dreaded day of the week - it must be laundry day.
10:00 a.m.
Sorted and separated from those of color, I can now see the first machine lying in wait. I watch my non-white comrades being tossed into the churning behemoth, and know my turn is coming. It is rumored that the colored spin in cold water. Prejudice like this would not come of surprise in a world controlled by the clothed.
10:45 a.m.
As I am flung into the first machine, I catch a fleeting glimpse of my partner. The thought of us both, dry, clean, wrapped up together in the safety and sanitation of our drawer, no longer provides me respite in the soapy cyclone. This routine is growing unbearable. 
11:15 a.m.
I'm wrenched out of the first machine sopping wet and inside out. The second machine is still searing from previous loads. In the corner a lone sock is stuck, forgotten, condemned to a second sweltering spin. 
12:00 p.m.
Clean once again, I am tossed into a bin with the others, where I'm wrongfully sorted and paired with one who does not match. Does my gray blotch not stand out from a red stripe? Is my partner not an exact replica of myself? All socks are not created equal - this is on purpose. 
1:00 p.m.
Back in the drawer, it is becoming increasingly harder to enjoy brief periods of peace. I'm sick of it all. I was mercilessly torn from my packaging where no one was worn, where it didn't matter to whom you were matched, because equality reigned. The worn world is an evil one.  
I swear on my threads, I will escape. I will bust out of this prison I am held in, and I will find freedom. No more will I be worn on malodorous feet. No more will I be paired with one who does not match. No longer will I be spun into disorientation just to be worn once again. Leaving my partner with no match is a small price to pay for such a glorious reprieve. I will be free.

Diary of its wearer

Sunday, June 10th
I did laundry today. Missing a sock. It's like they're escaping.  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Females sting

When I was 7, I had a huge crush on Molly Snook, the Beyonce of 2nd grade. She strolled around the playground with a possy of older women, 3rd and 4th graders who flipped their hair around a lot and made doing the monkey bars look elegant. One day, I devised a plan to get her attention. I would wait until recess, toss a football into the air, make a sweet diving catch, and land heroically next to her shins. I would then get up, deliver a cool, "sorry, ladies," and strut away with, God willing, a scrape on my elbow and a grass stain on my jeans. This would make me the coolest kid on the playground, a Jay-Z for Beyonce, and Molly would be passing me a note asking to be her boyfriend within the hour.

Sadly, the maneuver was sabotaged by nature. At the top of its arch, a strong gust of wind took the ball off its trajectory and out of my reach. I dove, but could only watch in horror as it fell squarely upon the skull of my beloved. Fully splayed out in the grass, I was just another bystander as she caught the football effortlessly off her beautiful head and chucked it further than most of the boys watching could fathom. "Go get it, idiot" and a soul piercing eye roll were the first and last gestures I ever received from the love of my prepubescent life.

At the time, this seemed like the worst a female could ever hurt me. Then, about a dozen years later, I was proven entirely wrong.

Just like before, it all started with a foolish plot. I would approach a group of females I had no business approaching. And, just like before, nature would screw me. The difference: this particular group of females numbered in the thousands, and they were all equipped with poisonous stingers.

Indeed, a worker honeybee is a formidable female. She attacks in swarms, and, as I would learn that day, she doesn't stop until her target is thoroughly emasculated. And I was, according to Dr. Naug, a rugged Professor of Ecology and beehive rummager who fears the sting of a honeybee like a kid fears ice cream. His University research laboratory, or the "bee lab," as it was known in nerdier circles, had accepted me, an enthusiastic sophomore Biology major, into its ranks. These were a team of honeybee martyrs, emerging from experiments as if from combat, covered in small red welts delivered by smaller winged insects who couldn't figure out the reasoning behind our constant prodding. In fact, their natural populations were in worldwide decline, and we were performing experiments to try and figure out why. In essence, we were trying to save the honeybee, a cause I initially deemed worthy but would soon be forced to reevaluate. 

As the newest member of a team responsible for the lives and deaths of hundreds of thousands of bees, or the "B" team, as it was known in far nerdier circles, I had to first learn the ins and outs of beekeeping. During my first summer in the lab, Dr. Naug took me on a series of excursions to his field site where he could show me the ropes. The day in question was just another of these expeditions, and I was ready to learn.

Learn I would.

When we pulled up to the field site, an open meadow with five bustling hives in the middle, two things occurred that were of crucial importance.

One: we realized we had only brought a single beekeeping suit. A single beekeeping suit consists of a single pant-shirt combo, a single pair of gloves, and of utmost importance, one, single head veil. All of these articles are designed to protect a single human from many bee-sized items in the external world. It took me a few more seconds than one might expect to deduce that a single beekeeping suit cannot thoroughly protect two humans. As the only human present who was capable of beekeeping at that juncture, Dr. Naug was the one who slid into the single beekeeping suit.

Two: in the presence of a single beekeeping suit, which I would not be wearing, I was advised, "you'll be fine, just watch from a distance." Looking back, this was a calamitous oversight. I would not be fine, because, as an amateur bee disturber, I had no knowledge of what constituted a safe distance between angry female honeybees and a human with no beekeeping suit, nor did I understand the frightening speed at which an angry female honeybee can traverse the airspace between herself and her innocent human target. As such, I chose a spot about halfway between the hives and our field truck. My logic was that, that, from there, I could see what Dr. Naug was doing while still remaining safe. This demonstrated a level of naiveté that did not go unpunished.

It all started with sound. When you work with honeybees for long enough, you start to recognize the sound of their wings in flight, their "buzz," if you will. From their buzz, you can determine the mood of a particular honeybee or group of honeybees at any given time. A low pitched, drone-like buzz indicates a relaxed, slow flying bee. This bee is probably foraging, en harmless route to one flower or the next, and carrying no real malice toward anyone. A high pitched, shrill-like buzz, on the other hand, indicates a bee that is on the move. This bee is probably in some state of alarm. Bees that are in some state of alarm are usually pissed off, and bees that are pissed off are bees a human without a beekeeping suit should avoid at any cost.

I was not privy to any of this.

In all fairness, they  gave me plenty of warning. A "fly-by," as I later learned, is a term used in the bee- rummaging world to describe an aerial warning given by an angry female honeybee to back off, and it is given in the second buzz-type manner. After Dr. Naug, thoroughly protected by the single beekeeping suit, had been poking around for a mere matter of seconds, I started noticing a whole lot of fly-bys in my immediate headspace. Then, a thump in my hair. Then, a couple more. Thump. Thump.

My mindset at this point became one of pure denial. I initiated a train of thought that can be sufficiently summed up in two words: no way.

There is no way I just felt something land in my hair....
Ok, maybe I did, but there is no way it was alive...
Ok, it might have been alive, but there is no way it was a bee...
Ok, even it was a bee, there is no way it can be mad at me, someone standing so far away from its problems.

No. Way.

It's amazing how quickly the human brain can go from denial to acceptance, no way to oh, shit. This is what we have come to know as our survival instinct in action. For me, it kicked in as soon as physical pain became part of the equation, in the form of a pinprick above my left eye, followed by numerous prods on my scalp and around my ears, all in neat succession. It was only then that the full realization of what was happening kicked in, and it was exactly then that I began disobeying every rule for getting swarmed by honeybees, a necessary protocol that was stressed when I joined the lab:

·         No frantic movements
I ducked, danced, swatted the air, and generally epitomized franticness.
·         Keep your eyes and mouth closed
I didn't blink once, and made involuntary small girlish shrieks that required an ajar mouth hole.
·         Don't run, but briskly walk away towards water or a wooded area
I ran the fastest I ever ran in my entire life away from the only patch of trees in the area and toward our field truck, which, upon entry, became a confined bee hell as an irate sisterhood of hive defenders had already nestled in my hair, searching for access to any area of exposed scalp.
·         Don't panic
In other words, don't be human.
·         Don't squish bees stinger first into your own body
I added this to the protocol after spending a couple of hours excavating bee body parts from my head including stingers that, even upon separation from host bee, continue to inject painful poison into your body until removed.

After spending a sufficient amount of time "scampering around like an idiot" while Dr. Naug, cool as a veritable cucumber in the single beekeeping suit, relayed inappropriately calm instructions from the eye of the bee hurricane, (Stop running. Calm down. You're freaking out. No, don't get in the truck.), and after an even more sufficient amount of time hiding in the trees like a mental patient, continuously rousing my hair and flailing my arms toward imaginary noises, we made our way back to campus. In the field truck, I could have sworn Dr. Naug brandished a slight grin as he recounted with me (again) every way I went wrong, which ended up being a laundry list of sorts. I took note as much as I could, but most of my attention was focused on my pulsating cranium and every remotely buzz-like sound emitted by a vehicle in motion, each one causing me to involuntarily spasm in fear.

Molly Snook taught me early on that the human female is a formidable species that can impart strong emotional damage onto the human male. However, the latter group of females taught me there is a stark difference between an emotional sting and many, many physical ones. And, having experienced both, I can confidently say there is really no comparison. Human females may have the ability to sting, but they have nothing against the female honeybee.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Introducing, Fetusbook

As expecting parents, you want the best for your developing fetus. Why wait for your baby to be born before providing him/her with the gift of social networking?

Introducing, Fetusbook for the developing fetus! Create a profile for your unborn infant, and get them started networking with other fetuses before they take their first breath. Provide for your precious unborn something never before possible in the womb - friends. Why force your offspring to develop real life social skills when they can be born with 500 virtual womb friends?

Fetusbook is fully equipped with useful features to ensure a successful social transition from womb to world.

Experiencing lots of kicking today? Morning sickness creeping in? Use our womb status feature to update your fetus' social circle on all placental happenings. Nothing feels quite as good as sharing the most private and personal moments of your pregnancy with the world.

Have a collection of ultrasound images piling up? Use fetography albums to record and post all your fetal pictures for others to see! When your child is older, they will appreciate a detailed photographic record of what they looked like inside of their mother's reproductive tract.

Haven't picked out a name yet? No Problem! The nammary feature generates random baby names and is there to take the pressure off - you won't have to worry about naming your child, only presenting them with the gift of a well put-together profile page.

Use Fetusbook for all your fetal needs. Every time sperm meets egg, a potential social networking participant is fertilized. Don't let your child enter the world without a means of electronically interacting with others. Make your fetus a profile today and you will be well on your way to providing them with a rich and rewarding social life!