I was a huge fan of Doc Marten’s. I think I wore them exclusively for, easily, ten years during my 20s and 30s. I always got the same pair of brown ten hole boots every couple of years, and I wore them until they fell apart. I wore them year round. Clearly this was before I discovered the joy of flip flops. I wore them because they were “cool.”
So, when wearing my boots with shorts, it was absolutely critical that I had the right socks. For me the right socks were grey work socks. Grey, with the off white top part and the red stripe. It just had to be those socks. To me, anything else just looked dumb. So I’d buy them in bulk at some place like Giant Tiger. Cheap and plentiful.
Here’ the thing with cheap socks. They’re cheap. They wear out really quickly. So, as they wore out, I’d start simply wearing the ones that survived, a little longer. Then I’d wear them longer and longer and longer. Yeah, I was gross.
So here’s what happens if you repeatedly wear the same few pairs of socks, in a pair of Doc’s, year round. They get dirty. but more specifically, the get hard. Crusty even. If you’ve ever done it, you know that putting on a pair of socks that has hardened is one of the more horrible things, sock related. But what other option did I have? Wear the wrong king of socks? Wear no socks? Not wear my Doc’s? Fuck that noise! No. The only solution was to ride it out until laundry day and start the cycle over again. Wear them out until there was no way to avoid developing hardened work socks and then go replace them all.
So yeah, gross.
Anyway, I was at the park with my dog the other day. He’s running around and just being a dog. Pissing on everything that may have previously been pissed on. Going as far away from me as he can get, without leaving my sight, before dropping a deuce. And then he moved on to digging in the sandbox.
After a few minutes he seemed to find something. I wasn’t really paying attention, just noticing that he found something in the hole and that he was pulling it out then dropping it back in and burying it and then digging it up again. My curiosity got the better of me as he lost interest and wandered away to pee on more things. So I wandered over to the hole.
Lying next to it was one of my old socks. Was it really one of my old socks? No. But fuck if it couldn’t have been. It had all the tell tale signs. Grey work sock with cream top and red stripe (like the corpse of a sock monkey), gapping hole in the sole so that it was basically the tube part with a heel and toes, and it was hard.
I did not touch it with my hands, but I kind of nudged it with my shoe (flip flop actually). It moved as one, except where Loki’s slobber had softened it. To confirm, I picked up a stick and used it to lift the sock up. It could be used as a weapon during the upcoming zombie apocalypse. I dropped it. Stared at it. Kinda lost in a mental time warp.
I used to do this to socks. With my feet. In my boots. I was a monster.
I walked home with Loki a short time later. I looked off at the horizon, realizing how far I had come in life, since my days of mutilating work socks. And realizing how much farther I could go, in my comfortable, wonderful flip flops.