Memory can play tricks.
        Sometimes I have to think very carefully whether some phrase or idea that has slipped itself back into my awareness originated with someone I know -- as in an actual person -- or whether it instead came from a character that once made his or her way through me, like a passenger navigating their way through an airport on their way to an unknown adventure.
       And while the notion that I sometimes have trouble telling the difference what is real or imagined may seem positively absurd to some, I can only report that for those like me, it can happen with enough regularity that I now try to always stop and think twice before quoting “a friend of mine” in relaying a story or anecdote.
       But even then, on occasion, I can’t be entirely sure from whence a phrase or anecdote may have arrived.
       So with that caveat, allow me to nevertheless mention what "a friend of mine” once said that popped back into my mind the other day while buying my son some socks, and presenting them to him with a certain satisfaction.
       He, conversely, received them with that certain, faint smile and barely disguised disappointment reserved for a person accepting a gift subscription to Insurance Salesman of the Year Magazine.
       But what I wanted him to know -- to appreciate -- about the socks was that although they are not sexy or flashy, they are what keep us comfortable and dry – which many a sexy-flashy thing cannot.
      What’s more, socks will be there for us day in and day out when yesterdays sexy-flashy things become today’s trash. I wanted him to see that a simple pair of socks is a joy to the overworked and underpaid, because socks, unlike so many other aspects of our lives, deliver on their promise -- unlike computers, for example, to name just a few of our reliability-challenged modern conveniences, to say nothing of our government.
       And that’s what I wanted him to appreciate and recognize in the lowly socks, even as the world swarms around him with the new and dazzling.

       Now, I will get him some flash, too. He likes skateboarding, and no amount of “reliability” can replace – or necessarily always should – some youthful moments of feeling like one has just the right gear, just the right logo or color coordinated pads -- as defined by the consensus of 8 to 10 year old aficionados – which help him feel a part of something. Because that experience, too, can help him -- all of us -- feel a part of something bigger than ourselves…as long as it balanced by an enduring appreciation of qualities of the lowly sock, which, while spending most of its cottony life looking up at the world, can help us all, by contrast, to never look down on it -- or down on others who who don’t have socks -- which is even more to the point.
       So let us appreciate the sock and what it represents -- as a friend of mine once said.
And although I’ve forgotten which friend said it (or was it a fictional character?), I will never forget what he said.
       Such is the legerdemain of memory.

Until next time,

With My Best,


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