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William C. Altreuter
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Friday, October 31, 2003

Speaking of matters sartorial, EGA writes:

"I arrived at college with only the socks on my feet- at least, in terms of socks. I did have some other sundries, but as far as socks, nothing. For the first few days I shared this information with practically everyone I met; why, I have no idea. Perhaps I was trying to establish some sort of absent-minded personna. As far as forgetting things, I could have done worse: it was no big deal to wander around campus sockless for a week or two, but think how awkward it would have been to have forgotten, say, underpants. Of course, I eventually bought socks (once I had figured out the cheapest possible sock vendor in Northampton), but what really bugged me were the socks I'd forgotten. My family is not big on personal property, and the clearest evidence of this is the Communal Sock System. Our unofficial sock policy is, "from each according to her ability, to each according to her needs." Although my sisters and I often receive novelty socks for Christmas, we rarely remember which socks are whose. Everybody pretty much wears all the socks. This means that nobody is ever wearing socks that fit. I'm fond of the Communal Sock System, but I had a better idea. I was going to begin my adult life with seven identical pairs of white socks. That way, I'd never have to sort socks, I'd never have to worry about losing a sock: it would be great. Seven identical pairs of socks were purchased. They got as far as the front door. And they were never seen again.

"Today I am doing laundry. On my bed are at least six different colors of socks. I'm sorting them. At least one is missing its mate.

"It was such a good idea in theory."

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