Monday, July 28, 2008


In dryers all over the world there is a sub-species of the same creature that gnaws through important automotive belts, drains all the oil in a vehicle, and generally clabbers up any mechanical device.

It is.... the Sock Gremlin.

It's native habitat is unknown for sure, as no one has ever actually seen a sock gremlin, let alone followed one home. Theories vary from alternate dimensions, to mouse holes in laundry room walls, to dryer motors. Personally, I think they live in a symbiotic relationship with the boogey bears that our dogs chase and bark at, in between chasing and barking at the birds.

Anyway, these gremlins are notorious for stealing one sock of a pair, and leaving the poor laundry doer scratching their heads over a pile of "strays." Occasionally they have been known to deposit one mismatched sock, usually in a color and/or pattern that you know you don't own. Whether this is their idea of trade, or just an amusing joke for them, I don't know.

Why am I telling my fabulous readers all of this, when they're sure to have encountered the sock gremlins before? Well, I've discovered a new kind of gremlin, closely related to the sock gremlin.

The Lesser North American Underwear Gremlin. Maybe some of you have run across this particular type before, but I haven't.

I've named it the Lesser North American Underwear Gremlin, because it only seems to be interested in little boys' underwear. Particularly, Middle and Youngest Child's.

When CM moved in to his apartment, he somehow lost all but three pairs of their underwear, so he bought a package of six. Assuming there weren't many accidents, and that CM did laundry once a week (not such a stretch) they should have been able to make do for a while.

Vanishing underwear was at first attributed to Youngest Child. He doesn't always wake up in the middle of the night when his bladder is full. When he'd gone a couple of weeks without a late night accident, CM let him wear his underwear to bed instead of a pull-up.

Of course, when he did have an accident after that, he was embarrassed. So he would hide the soiled underwear and put on a pull-up, when he awoke to the... er... oops.

A small talk with Youngest Child quickly solved that problem, assuring him that it's not the end of the world if he has an accident, but that he needed to put the dirty underwear in the dirty clothes and not hide them.

Most of the time since then, he's put on a pull-up on his own before bed, anyway.

And yet... there are five pairs of underwear for the boys in the house. We looked where Youngest was hiding them before... no dice. Under beds, under dressers, in closets, behind the toilet, in the couch cushions. No sign of the missing tighty-whiteys.

Farmmom chimed in that they might be going down the potty ("undies go down the hoooole!") but CM swears that their toilet doesn't have the juice to suck a pair of underwear down.

Thus... The Lesser North American Underwear Gremlin.

I wonder if they prefer plain white undies or the Spidey-man kind? Or if its more about the scent of dirt and sticky things that hovers around little boys everywhere?

I shall pursue the investigation into the habits and behaviors of the Lesser North American Underwear Gremlin... any other data on the subject is of course, more than welcome.

I wonder if I could catch one for further study... sticky traps maybe?


Ambulance Driver said...

I have an alternate theory.

The North American athletic sock is actually the larval stage of the wire coat hanger. Late at night while we're sleeping, the sock in question forms a chrysalis in the lint trap, and 24 hours later, emerges from the lint ball a new, shiny wire coat hanger. That would explain both the missing athletic socks and the proliferation of wire coat hangers in closets across the country.

I believe the North American Tighty Whitey is similarly the larval stage of either plastic coat hangers, or perhaps dead AA batteries. They're elusive little critters, so it's hard to tell for sure without physically catching one emerging from the cocoon.

My advice is to check your closets and junk drawers. You'll probably find the answer there.

Anonymous said...

My two boys have lost more socks & underware than I have purchased.
But to the bed wetting thing; If you moniter fluid intake 2 hours before bed time, then wake them up 2 hours later for a trip to the loon, in 3 days there will be no wet sheets.
Your vigilance is required for those few days but the emotional security developed by the boys will last for years.

PawPaw said...

I was folding clothes the other night and noticed that the socks came out right. Everything had a match.

I remarked to the lady that the socks seemed to be right and she told me to do a recount. I love that woman's sense of humor