Put a sock in it
The secret lives of socks – how little we know about it! More is known about the brown-throated sloths, which live in the Amazonian jungle, than about the woollen socks that inhabit the bottom drawer of our dressing tables.
Until recently, I never even realised just how similar socks and sloths were. After doing *considerable research, I found only a few minor dissimilarities – and one major difference – between the two species. OK, we all know that you’d never buy a pair of sloths as footwear. But you never know: some people wear crocs, don’t they?
We’ll get to the major difference later – but let’s first look at the similarities:
Brown-throated sloths and socks both sleep 15 to 18 hours every day. Both are active for only a few brief periods, which may be during either the day or night.
There is no significant difference between males and females of either species.
As with socks, the brown-throated sloth has no incisor or canine teeth.
Socks and sloths both contain only one vowel, namely, the fifteenth letter of the alphabet: “o.” (Pronounced: oh! As in: “Oh! I see fifteen sloths.”)
The hairs on both species have numerous microscopic cracks across their surface. These cracks are host to a number of **algae, including Rufusia pillicola, Dictyococcus bradypodis, and Chlorococcum choloepodis. The algae are generally absent in the hair of both young sloths and new socks, and may also be absent in particularly old individuals, where much of the hair has been lost.
Both species have no gall bladders, ***caeca, or appendices.
The female sloth is known to emit a loud, shrill scream during the mating season to attract males. It is a cry that sounds like: "Ay, ay". This scream has been remarked to sound exactly like that of a woman screaming.
Uncannily, this is not unlike the sound that the wife makes when I come back home after spending a few weeks in the bush. (Not because she wants to mate, you understand, but because of the smell of my unwashed socks.) “Ay, ay,” she’ll go. “Something has died here!”
Brown-throated sloths are known to have lived for at least three years in captivity – and so have some of my socks.
The above are just some of the similarities between socks and sloths.
As to the minor differences:
Most sloths are not made in China; socks do not climb trees; female socks do not have mammary glands, and they do not suckle their young; sloths have a gestation period of seven months; and lastly – socks do not eat leaves.
And THAT brings us to the major difference between these two species. Ask yourself: “What DO socks eat?”
We’ll get to that shortly – but first, let me ask you this:
Have you ever opened your dresser’s bottom drawer one morning; to find only one remaining partner of a pair of your favourite socks? Did this sock look fluffy and healthy? Was it in high spirits? Did it smell nice? Were its colours dazzlingly bright? Have you seen this?
You have? I thought so!
Now, prepare yourself for an ear-popping eye-opener! Here it is:
SOCKS ARE CANNIBALS!!! Ta-daaaa! Now you know!
But that’s not all!
The remaining sock is a female! (Just like a praying mantis, she has eaten the poor male sokkie while he was trying to “Sokkie-jol” her.) If you were paying attention – and if you listened closely – you probably would have heard her screaming: “Ay, ay,” during the night.
But then again – maybe YOU were too busy screaming: “Ay, ay,” yourself.
You really should put a sock in it, you know. The neighbours will start complaining!
*considerable research – roughly two minutes of Wikipedia
**algae – the staple food of organically grown Vegans
***caeca – plural of cecum: the beginning of the large intestine