Click any letter for a look at my prize-winning essay from the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. You don't even have to buy a vowel.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Monkey See, Mommy Doesn't

Cuffing socks is a challenging job. Finding two that match in the mass of writhing cotton strips is not always easy. There’s always the possibility that the one you’re looking for is lost in the lint trap. Or under someone’s bed. Or on one of my feet spending the day with a mismatched partner.

I’m not sure who got sock duty this week. I’m sure it was someone who complained that they were bored and had nothing to do. Or someone who was taunting his brother. Or someone who was displaying violent behavioral turbulence when confronted with a video game he could not beat.

Not long ago we went to the county fair. There we met a little monkey, all dressed up in a fancy suit and a little hat with an elastic band that went under his chin. If you presented the monkey with a quarter, he was trained to tip his little hat and shake your hand with his tiny fingers.

I suspect that little monkey cuffed our socks this week. The little monkey had a fine suit of clothes, but, as a mother, I noticed he had no shoes. Possibly his little monkey feet were cold and he followed us home. There he found a whole room full of socks to keep his little monkey feet warm. It was like sock heaven for him and he began to cuff socks.

But there are some rules to this little game that the monkey probably doesn’t know.

Things like:

Size matters. Girls socks and boys socks are not designed to fit the same size feet. Also, boys are sometimes noticeably stressed when their friends are the first to note that they are wearing socks with Disney princesses embroidered on the side.

Color also matters. Captain Spiffy has quite the sense of humor, but even he is somewhat chagrined to find himself in a meeting with the snappily dressed people representing different departments of the largest defense contractor in the world and notice that they are peering over the company logo printed in three color art on their ceramic coffee cups at his socks, revealed when he crosses one knee over the other.

One sock is green and sports a cuddly Care Bear. The other bears a pink pony and sparkles. If we have swapped merchandise, then undoubtedly my my niece’s kids, who spent the weekend not long ago, are the hit of daycare in black nylon stretch socks.

As I sit here at my desk contemplating my one midnight blue sock and a slightly faded brown one, something is stirring in the recesses of my brain. I recall an evening spent cuffing socks behind the louvered doors of the laundry room. Who needs lights? I thought. Who needs glasses? I thought.

The monkey might not. But I do.


Janna Qualman said...

Very cute. I should like to shake hands with such a monkey! Sock stealer or not. :)

Beth Bartlett said...

I love the mental image of the Cap'n in sparkly socks!