I remember one of my job “reviews”, you know, the ones they do after your first six months. It sounded a little like this: “Your work is timely. You are a team player, yet able to work well on your own. Your customer service is excellent. The only area that needs improvement would be in your dress…your socks are not dress code.” Seriously??
How do you feel about socks? It’s not a question you get asked everyday. Depending on how you wear them, they can be a necessity in which, blue black or grey will do–or they can be a window on how you approach life. Who would have thought that? Socks…down there, lurking at the bottom of your pants, unassuming and almost secretive. What color are your socks?
It was Easter when I was about 6, that the Easter Bunny left me my first pair of multi-colored socks! Not just colored socks but TOE SOCKS!! A beautiful burst of bright Crayola color circling in stripes up to my knees! Each with individual casings for my little sausage toes! I was so excited! My love affair with funky socks had begun! I had found my “sole” mate!
I grew up listening to the comedian, Steve Martin. Someone had asked him once ” Steve, how can you be so funny?” He answered, “…it’s no big deal, and before I go out I put a slice of bologna in each of my shoes. So when I’m on stage I feel funny!” That’s how I feel when I but on a pair of vibrant socks! I pull them on and I smile, like I have an inside joke. When I pass people I hear them whisper, ” What does she know that we don’t or maybe it was, not sure she’s all there ?” When things get tense, I remember my socks! When I give a speech, I don’t picture people in their underwear, and I am sure some of them would be glad of that, but I picture my socks. Now perhaps you would think, what if I wore fun undergarments? Wouldn’t that work? Sure it would, but if I were to flash my undergarments during a speech, I think my message would be a little different!!
If you are at a long meeting, sitting between two people, they both cross their legs, one flash black socks, one color which person would you want to get know? For example, being a Justice of the Peace, I join couples together in that sanctity of marriage. You can’t much more serious than that! Couples sometimes interview a few to find the best fit for them. Most often I will meet with a couple in a coffee shop but sometimes I will go to their homes. Such was the case when I met with a young psychologist and his wife to be. Upon entering the house, I politely took off my boots and followed them down into the living room. I made myself comfy on the couch, as the groom to be made tea. I caught a flash my socks: dark pink with bright yellow emojis with red heart eyes and red tongues sticking out. Hmmmm not much I could do… should give the psychologist something to ponder. As the cup of tea was set before me the psychologist commented, “I thought this mug would be best for as it matches your socks!” Yep a mug with smiley emojis! They chose me and my approach to life.
My friend Gina loved my exuberance, and she would feed my habit anytime she could. I had given her a pair once, but Gina was a big gal and said they wouldn’t go around her ”trunks”. Gina didn’t need socks…she was full of the devil and had a deep contagious laugh. A few years ago, cancer grabbed hold of Gina. She held up her spirits as best she could. When it crept up to her brain, there wasn’t much cheer left in her. I wanted to do something for her. So I did what I knew best. I searched for the largest and funkiest socks and filled a shoe box and went to see her. She opened the box, and looked at me. “For the hospital I said, so your feet won’t get cold.” Her eyes watered up then, she threw back her head and that deep beautiful laugh rumbled from her lungs. Each day in that hospital, she had a friend or nurse put on a pair. And by her wish, she was cremated with mismatched socks. There’s nothing more serious than death…and she chose to meet it with a laugh.
With all that is going on in today’s world, it’s hard to keep a sense of humor when we need it the most. It’s much easier to wear black, blue and grey socks. Stick to the dress code. I choose crazy socks. They allow me to see things differently…to bounce back from life’s downs a little quicker… not to take life so seriously. When you feel good inside, people notice and want to be a part of it.
When my one year performance review came around it had one change: “You work well with others and definitely a strong trait is your sense of humor and ability to keep things light in the office when things get stressful. It is appreciated. What did I change? Nothing. What color are your socks?