Since we are moving out of state at the end of the month, I stopped my home delivery of the Chicago Tribune about a week ago. However, I’ll continue to read the online version every morning in order to keep abreast of the latest “breaking news” in the Windy City.
A little known fact is that the Chicago Tribune publishes a small parody newspaper called The Onion, which Wikipedia calls a news satire organization. Although I’m not going to be able to pick up a printed copy of the newspaper at the local news stand in Flagstaff, I’ll still be able to read it online when I’m truly in the mood for some goofy news.
Using the online White Pages directory this morning, I discovered that there are 99 people in America who have the last name of “Tongue”, and slightly over 100 who have the last name of “Cheek”.
In the vein of the tongue-in-cheek editorial flavor of The Onion, the story listed below is an example of what could be the start of a series of related topics that The Onion might publish at some point in the future.
The joy of socks
Socks have been in use much longer than any of us could imagine. The first known use of socks was during The Stone Age, when socks were made of animal skins and tied around the ankles.
The 2nd century Romans were the first people to sew socks from woven fabric, and the Egyptians of the 3rd century were the first to actually knit socks.
For centuries thereafter, silk was the most popular material used to make socks, but cotton finally came into use in the 17th century. By the middle of the 20th century, nylon became the most popular fabric.
In spite of their popularity, though, socks have always presented a problem for their wearers. If Arthur Conan Doyle were still alive, he eventually would have written The Case of the Missing Socks.
In my dresser drawer, I have exactly 13 mismatched socks that I continue to keep in the hope that its partner will mysteriously reappear in the dryer the next time that I do my laundry. Buying special socks (such as Gold Toe socks) helps the problem, but doesn’t cure it entirely.
Thanks to the U.S. Army, though, there IS a cure.
Most people are surprised to learn that the Bureau of Missing Socks began as a company in the Union Army during the Civil War in the States of America. It was formed on August 1st, 1861. The name of the founder was Joseph Smithson and he was a haberdasher by trade but quite a bad soldier. He was therefore put in full and complete charge of socks of the enlisted men and officers. He brought to the army skills of stock keeping, purchasing, accounting, and salesmanship He immediately instituted a cost control structure and created one of the most honest, tightly run purchasing sections serving the Union side during the entire conflict.
The Bureau of Missing Socks is the only organization in the world devoted solely to unraveling the mystery of the single disappearing sock. It is an arm of the United States government no less important than the State Department and Department of Defense.
Its headquarters are located on a bluff high above the Potomac River in Washington, D. C. in a twenty four acre office park divided into four distinct areas: administrative, research, data and laboratory facilities.
Incidentally, if you’d like to order your very own custom socks, the link immediately above can take you to a page that allows you to view some unique products.
If the above information seems like a (um) stretch, consider the words of one of our former Presidents:
Other than socks, the other topics that could eventually find their way into The Onion (in no particular sequence) are the following,
The joy of Sox - a brief history of “the South Siders”
The joy of six - Phil Jackson’s Chicago Bulls
The joy of slacks - when did WOMEN get to wear the pants in the family?
The joy of slicks - the evolution of the racing tire
The Joy of Sex - (not available in Middlesex, England)
The joy of snacks - (snack food rewind- a history of our favorite treats)
The joy of stacks - how to win at poker
The late Will Rogers had this to say about onions:
"An onion can make people cry, but there has never been a vegetable invented to make them laugh."
Since 1988, The Onion has been helping people to laugh, the first “vegetable” that’s been able to do that. If Will Rogers were still around today, I have no doubt that he’d be an avid reader.