Tuesday, January 20, 2015



Today I want to discuss questions that have always baffled me more than the deadly combination of algebra, geometry and trigonometry.
 What happens to the other sock? Where does the mate go to die? Is this revenge by my wife?
After I finished the last fruitless search for a sock that had disappeared into the great beyond, I decided this was a better topic for a PhD thesis than some of the stuff graduate students tackle.
Research should be sponsored in self-defence by a sock manufacturer because if we ever do solve this, there will be so many more useful pairs of socks around that they will have to close up shop.
You may think this a frivolous topic but I have seen some fascinating accounts of Socks Missing-in-Action.
It even brings back one that tugs at me where I wished I had acted differently.
I wrote a blog/column on April 11 last year about the death of Vince Devitt, one of those solid  reporters and companions in Toronto journalism.
When Vince was winding down after a nice career that had taken him from tough bartender to headline stories to premier's aide, he sent me a delightful column about socks that go missing in the wash.
At the time, the Sun had more regular columnists than we had spaces for them. Then there are all the writers who think that anyone can write a column and prove with what they send that they can't.
But Vince knew how to write. So I skimmed it and put it aside for vacation periods or emergencies where we kill a column for legal reasons or because the writer has become incoherent.
Vince phoned. I said I had no space then but I would save it. In the middle of my explanation, some crisis flared and I had to go. I think Vince took it as an old friend letting him down easy and he never sent me anything again. He moved south. And Socks MIA got lost in the flood of paper on an editor's office even in the computer age.
I think of this every time I rummage around a dryer looking for the other  sock. It was the kind of gentle observation of the passing scene that I long for after wading through newspapers jammed with politics because it cost less to cover politics than to really cover the city., where a State of the Union address is treated like the Second Coming when the president is mired in a Republican tar pit.
What haunts me is that I never got to the end of Vince's humour. Maybe he as veteran investigative  journalist had solved whether there's a black hole in the laundry room or just in space.

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