March 14, 2005


...and grab your socks.

This post is about socks. Actually, it's about a specific pack of them. More specifically yet, it's actually about their packaging. That's the kind of hard-hitting serious philosophical analysis I do here.

They're the basic black variety. Plastic bag, check. Three-or-four pair bundle wrapped in one of those sticky tape-slash-labels, check. This is the point where I'm expecting them to actually separate from one another. Only I find this particular package is also impaled by one of those H-barred plastic strips, the sort of thing we'll look back fondly at in fifty years after peak oil's falling graphline has left us all bludgeoning each other with thighbones to get at our neighbors' stockpiled biofuel made of fermented crushed cockroaches. (Someday, there'll be personal consumer brain-imaging caps that will enable me to see exactly what parts of my brain light up when I'm cogntively linking a task like unpacking new socks to doomsaying theories; I hope to use it biometrically, just like people use personal consumer heart monitors to keep their pulses in the right zone to maximize aerobic workouts.)

With that out of the way, the pairs actually separate from one another. The individual pair I'm now focused on, however, still doesn't. It's behaving like one sock. I've been reading Brian Greene's "Fabric of the Cosmos" the last couple nights, acquired during previously-mentioned bookstore-infection trip, and therefore I suspect that this particular pair of socks has, at extreme improbability, become quantum entangled but at the macroscopic scale that such things as "socks" are a useful descriptor of. This hypothesis is disproved by evidence, however, but the reason's even more silly--at two points, the pair is loosely staple-clasped together with tiny bent bits of pinched-together metal bands.

There was some kind of corporate decision-making involved with both those additional sock-packaging overkill facts. At some point, someone actually thought that most socks were simply criminally underpackaged. There were security flaws, perhaps. Maybe a retiree who engages in letters-to-the-editor as a hobby branched out into letters-to-companies, and bitterly complained about a package that was missing a sock, rendering it useless, and how dare your corporation treat a veteran this way. There were internal memos sent. Person-hours were devoted to meetings with whoever makes and sells tiny packaging bits. There were PowerPoint presentations about the processes involved in guaranteeing that every pair of socks was firmly clasped together and plastic-impaled.

Someone got a large bonus for spearheading and seeing the Package Integration Security (Socks) program to successful rollout. It's probably a bullet point on their resume.

Cynics in danger of learning too late that man is a feeling creature, and because of it the greatest in the universe, would do well to contemplate this kind of thing.

posted by Gar @ 1:02 AM
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