Tag Archives: socks
Sock: noun – a short stocking usually reaching to the calf or just above the ankle.
Through my teens and twenties I shoved my bare feet into moccasins for all but the coldest months of the year. Uninterested in, and unfazed by, social pressure to wear the latest styles, my feet were free spirits, non-conformists, the hippies of feetdom. Tiptoeing through the tulips in the most minimal of foot coverings, my feet lived in peace and happiness.
Alas, even free thinkers age and one day my feet realized that the times, they were a-changin’. They were tired by day’s end and the padded insoles and arch support offered by sturdier footwear now held much appeal. But how do feet bow to the need for sensible shoes without losing their identity? How do they acquiesce to the addition of socks to their wardrobe? Socks, for Pete’s sake – restraining tubes of navy or brown boredom enclosing tootsies in darkness for hours on end. “Say it isn’t so,” moaned the feet.
Trudging despondently through the department store on their first major sock shopping expedition, my feet soon made a surprising and joyful discovery: socks don’t have to be boring at all! They come in every colour and pattern imaginable. Feet can dress for holidays and display their favourite interests, hobbies and television characters all year long. There are even socks as souvenirs from favourite places. Socks are, in fact, a perfect way for feet to express their individuality.
So now my feet are content to wear stodgy shoes because, still unfettered by the fickle notions of our fad-driven society, they are free to enjoy whatever socks they choose. Sometimes they flaunt the day’s pick, carefully chosen to complement an outfit or celebrate an occasion. Other days call for more subtlety and my feet hide, chuckling, under the boardroom table, rebels clad in Spongebob Squarepants, surrounded by conformists. And if my feet no longer choose to tiptoe almost naked through the tulips, they now take enjoyment from wrapping themselves in colourful flowered socks. To everything, there is a season.
Apostrophes are like birds. More specifically, they are like our pet cockatiel, Ruffles. Ruffles is a much loved and important member of the family who flutters to our shoulders when he feels like watching television, playing peek-a-bird, talking to our socks (he has a sock fetish) or just perching on a soft body to snooze. Ruffles’ antics can be very amusing and we usually enjoy his company, but sometimes his presence is just not appropriate, e.g., when he flies to someone’s shoulder just as they are heading out to shovel snow.
Apostrophes are important members of the written English family but, like our bird, their company is sometimes welcome and sometimes inappropriate. They flutter above letters looking for a suitable landing position and choosing the wrong spot can make an apostrophe’s presence very amusing. There are Websites devoted exclusively to the misadventures of this punctuation mark.
Occasionally Ruffles sets off from his cage to fly manically through the house without, apparently, a predetermined flight plan in mind. Conversation pauses as his audience views this frenzied flight with amusement and waits for the outcome. He’s going to land in the dining room … no, no, he’s in the kitchen … wait, it’s okay, he’s going back to his cage… no he’s not ….he‘s in the living room …. oh, ohhhhhh, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, he’s hanging precariously from the drapes.
Pluralizing most singular nouns really couldn’t be any easier: you add an s. Orange becomes oranges, sock – socks, and sales assistant – sales assistants. If you add an apostrophe before an s, you are making a noun possessive: the socks belong to the bird = the bird’s socks. Unfortunately, apostrophes take flight and land without reason in handwritten signs outside of stores so often that plural nouns with misplaced punctuation (e.g., fresh apple’s and orange’s, sock’s and shoe’s, sales assistant’s needed) have been dubbed greengrocers’ apostrophes.
It’s easy to find Internet sites and books that thoroughly explain all the rules for using apostrophes. I don’t know why anybody who is unsure of the correct usage of this punctuation mark doesn’t just review the rules once or twice or thirty times to ensure successful landings for the apostrophe every time it sets forth.
Perhaps anyone about to write a sign should imagine an audience eagerly anticipating the result. Oh no, there’s an apostrophe taking off … it’s circling the words … it’s heading for a landing… wait, it’s okay, I think it’s turning back… no, no, it’s going to settle … oh, ohhhhhh, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it landed in the sock’s.