flewellyn: (Default)
[personal profile] flewellyn
My family, growing up, was not a neat family. We weren't absolute slobs, but...oh, who am I kidding? We were absolute slobs. We kept surfaces clean for eating, and clothes clean for wearing, and dishes clean for eating off of...but that was about the sum of it. Vacuuming happened if and when my sister remembered; the garbage was taken out (by me) irregularly; clutter would pile up until somebody remembered to do something with it (usually shove it to the side); and, of course, when laundry was done, there was the inevitable debate on natural selection.

"Wait, what?" I hear you asking. (Actually, I don't, but let's just pretend, okay?) "What in the blue peeping hellacious eyes of Samuel W. Scratch does natural selection have to do with laundry?"

So glad you asked.

You see, as my father documented in his famous-among-lunatics home-taped nature documentary, the common household sock, or Hosius socka, has a rather odd lifecycle. It is mostly a parasitic organism, living its short life on the feet of wandering mammals, from which it feeds on the skin of the feet. Once it has fed, it drops off onto the ground and then begins the long, slow process of migrating across the floor, moving in a sluglike fashion, towards the hamper, at which point it jumps up and seeks out a mate in the pile. The products of this union, in turn, emerge from their nest in the dryer and then attach themselves to the nearest host, whereupon the cycle begins anew.

This process leads to a number of interesting phenomena. Obviously, the most common one is the sight of exhausted socks, flopped on the floor, pausing to catch their breath before resuming the arduous voyage. Another point of interest is the genetics: socks that mate with others of similar color will, of course, produce more of the same, but when you get socks of different colors mating, the results can be quite bizarre. I speak here, of course, of striped, polka-dotted, and multicolored socks, which arise mostly because the genes for various colorations are mostly codominant, except for the "white" gene, which is recessive. (Argyle socks, I believe, are the result of a mutation involving exposure to ionizing radiation, excessive inbreeding, and copious amounts of Scotch whiskey.) The migration, being quite an ordeal, often causes injuries to the socks, some of which can result in actual holes in the body (or "socka bifida"), which can be fatal if untreated.

However, the most interesting thing to note when discussing the migratory and mating habits of socks, and the salient point here, is naturally the question of human intervention. The arduous nature of the migration of H. socka serves to weed out the sick and old from the herd, as with many other species. If humans intervene and place the socks in the hamper directly, this removes an important selection pressure from their environment. Clearly, this would be bad for the overall health of the species. So, as my father argued in his groundbreaking (and patience-trying) documentary, the only ethical choice we have is to allow nature to take its course.

I will not repeat my mother's response to this, my father's greatest contribution to science since his seminal work Evolutionary Regression and Table Manners: Why Forks? Why?, but I will say that it was, sadly, not very scientific.

Date: 2006-01-03 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] voyeurprincess.livejournal.com
Hee. You said "seminal".

I'm curious about the dying-off rate, myself. My sock colony is at dangerously-low reproductive levels, and I'd like to preserve as many as possible (and their mates, so to breed), but without disturbing their natural habitat and habits too much. What would you suggest?

Date: 2006-01-10 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
Socks don't really die, they just disappear through vortices in the dryer to the Hose-zone layer.

Date: 2006-01-04 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] momily.livejournal.com
I would pay money to see that documentary.

No, really.

Date: 2006-01-04 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] naamah-darling.livejournal.com
I'm speechless with awe. That is really cool. And the phrase "What in the blue peeping hellacious eyes of Samuel W. Scratch" is just fantastic. I have to use that one.

Date: 2006-01-04 07:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] parrhesia.livejournal.com
Awesome, Flewy!

And I second Momily, I'd love to see that video :D Especially if it was done in the hushed, slow voice that often accompanies said style of documentaries...ooo, or 'zee ocean iz teeming wiff life' accent? :D

As for Odin and I, we follow the following procedure:
1. wear matched set of socks
2. place in laundry hamper
3. wait
4. wash at some point
5. put clean, dry, unsorted socks in clean grocery bag, fully intending to match them up 'real soon'
6. wait
7. resort to said clean grocery bag when low on pairs of socks

The bag is always half full of orphan socks, or, perhaps, they are child socks that have no match as they are weird cross-breeds. Especially the one with the green frogs on it.

Date: 2006-01-10 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sibylla.livejournal.com
The laughing, it hurts, but it hurts so good! I think I'll just sock this away in my memories section. It serves as a laughter stash for a rainy day.

Date: 2006-01-10 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
It's all true. I swear it.

Date: 2006-01-10 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sibylla.livejournal.com
Honey, I don't doubt it for a second. That's the best part about it. I can see such a thing truly happening with great ease. I suppose that says a lot about the company I keep. *grin*

Date: 2006-01-10 07:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
I envy you the company you keep. :-)

Date: 2006-01-15 07:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] axllee.livejournal.com
*Just laughs hysterically* Didn't your Dad once say something about the cerebral functions of half a head of lettuce, using a clump of cauliflower to illustrate the functions of the medulla?

Date: 2006-01-15 08:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
Oh, you were there for that?

Yes, yes he did.

Date: 2006-01-16 04:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] axllee.livejournal.com
No. I called soon after and Lani told me about it. *chuckles* I still remember it, though. Your dad kicks ass. :) Literally and figureatively.


Date: 2006-01-19 06:10 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
When did I talk about that? What did I say? I do remember a brief career as a lettuce proctologist, but that was in the dim past....

Re: Lettuce

Date: 2006-01-19 06:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
You were describing the lettuce as analogous to the human brain. Which works, if you forget the "made of meat" bit.

Date: 2006-01-25 01:37 am (UTC)
minkrose: (fedora!)
From: [personal profile] minkrose
(and now that you've invaded my journal, i'll return the favour by leaving all the comments I didn't leave when I was reading earlier.)

So, my father works on the medical campus at BU and has a tendency to bring home scientific studies proving that we should not be eating certain foods or doing certain things in order to avoid doing something my mum wants him to do. For example, he hates tofu. Apparently, he's got some study (I DID get him to send me the reference for it) that says that eating tofu causes brain damage. Generally my family's pretty good about exercise and healthy eating but the anti-soy study gets brought up all the time. Quite Amusing.

needless to say, I very much appreciate the sock humour.

I think forks should have a built-in blade on the edge of the tines. It would make cutting food a step easier - okay, so you'd have to be careful not to make your mouth any wider but anyone with a brain can remember to do that (clearly, these would NOT be mass produced).

Date: 2006-01-25 01:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
Hey, knock yourself out. Go back some if you like. I have some oldies that you might appreciate, humor-style.

Date: 2006-01-25 01:51 am (UTC)
minkrose: (Default)
From: [personal profile] minkrose
I went back three pages worth before I realized I'd already decided after reading about 3 posts that I should friend you and everything else was just confirming it. I had gotten so wrapped up in reading, I'd stopped thinking about whether I liked your LJ enough to friend you.

Date: 2006-01-25 02:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
Hehehehe...maybe I should just give you some links then.

I think I will definitely be friending you too. Pirates rule.

Date: 2006-01-25 02:10 am (UTC)
minkrose: (pirate captain)
From: [personal profile] minkrose
if you hadn't after all this, i would've been pretty surprised.

of course, i also realized about 5 minutes ago that I never actually FRIENDED you (I always forget that part; I look at the profile first and then move on). so that's done. not that it makes a difference; I dont f-lock things unless they're directly pertinant to a filtered group. like "ppl going to my pirate party" or "friends who want holiday cards."

yes, i do have an annual pirate party. this summer will be our 5th annual. pirates are AWESOME.


Date: 2006-02-03 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This is hysterical!! May I pass it on to a few friends? It's too good not to!
Take care of yourself....Hi to your Dad
Axllee's Mom


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