“You have a hole in your sock,” I said to my teen son. “You should throw that sock away.”
“It’s just a hole, Dad,” he said. “It’s not bothering anything.”
“It’s a hole in your sock,” I repeated. “Get rid of it.”
“It’s fine,” he said in a tone that said the matter was closed.
When it comes to holes in socks, I always seem to be on the wrong side of the conversation. When I was a kid, my mother felt I shouldn’t worry about holes in my socks. But I cared enough to throw them away. And if my mother found a sock that I threw away, she would go crazy.
“Did you throw away a sock again, Vincent?”
“It has a hole in it,” I would argue.
“That hole is too small to be concerned about,” my mother would say.
“But when we take our shoes off at school, I don’t want to be the kid with holes in his socks,” I would say.
“Vincent, do those stupid kids at school pay our bills?” my mother would argue with her favorite catch phrase.
“No, they don’t pay our bills,” I would say to avoid hearing a lecture about how hard my parents worked to provide for my family.
My mother was so fond of her catch phrase that every denial, even those about acquiring new socks, had to include some reference about who paid the bills in our household.
So I would tell my mother that she and my dad paid the bills and that would be the end of the conversation. Well, until I could throw out the sock in a manner that would never rouse suspicion.
Jerry Seinfeld once joked about how socks seem to disappear in the laundry. Well, let’s just say my mother would often wonder the same thing at times.
“We’ll buy you more socks,” I told my son. “Just don’t wear the sock anymore. I wouldn’t want you to take off your shoes at school and show off socks with holes in them.”
“The sock is fine. Besides, it conserves resources,” my son said, playing the eco-friendly card.
With my son I just could not fathom why he felt a hole in his sock was no big deal. So, I chose to espouse a sentiment that wasn’t environmentally friendly.
“The planet doesn’t need you to save it,” I said to my son as I walked away shaking my head.
I took care of the sock later. I found it in the laundry and tossed it in the trash. He was none the wiser.
I’m sure there are those of you who will criticize my actions, saying they are not friendly toward the environment. But I don’t care what you say about me.
After all, you don’t pay the bills in my house.