Nate’s a little superstitious and in his culture, socks seem to hold a lot of power. We spend a lot of time picking them out in the morning, and a lot of emphasis is placed on whether it’s a matching day or a mismatching day. He has a lot of apparel with various cartoon characters on them. Sometimes the Ninja Turtle socks will join forces with his Minion t-shirt and can be worn at the same time, and other times they need to match — the Dusty socks with the Dusty shirt, a Disney double whammy. Or the red socks need to go with the red pants, red shoes, red shirt — of which he has many — the red windbreaker, and the red hat. This is actually a very popular combination for him. And sometimes, particularly now that the weather is warmer, he opts for flip-flops, but for some reason, he often still picks out socks, as if to continue the practice of picking them out.
So, on Tuesday morning, when I went to check the mail, I was surprised to find a Lightning McQueen sock in the mail slot next to the front door. I quickly began to brainstorm all possible ways to explain how and why it got there, but to this day, the mystery remains unsolved…
1. Our mail carrier, Nancy — God love her — found it in the front yard, and thought it’d be a good way to return it to us. Because lots of kids disrobe in the front yard. If it’s after 12pm, I can pretty much count on Nate marching around the house wearing only his underwear.
2. Nate was trying to mail it somewhere far away. He’s been watching the news a lot lately, getting pretty fired up about the situation in Baltimore and the earthquake in Nepal — maybe he thought Lightning McQueen could help: peace, an end to racial injustice, first aid, meals. Little does he know that without a postage stamp, it’s not going anywhere.
3. Sam was trying to mail it out. Probably to teach Nate a lesson or possibly just to mess with him. Because if the sock is cherished by Nate, it’s even more valuable to Sam. That’s just very corrupt household politics at it’s finest — extortion, coercion, bribes, brotherly shakedowns, wedgies, etc.
4. The sock was trying to mail itself out in an escape attempt. I’ve thought about doing the same thing to myself some mornings, but we’re always low on stamps.
5. Nate is in the process of designing a Mother’s Day scavenger hunt, and he didn’t have time to add a hint for the next clue — he’s just so busy battering Sam and practicing his ninja moves. The end of the hunt probably results in something really exciting, like a boarding school acceptance letter. Or a coupon for a maid service. Or my dignity. Or my sanity. Or the first of many paychecks I’ll earn as a stay-at-home mom.
6. An attempt at performance art. He’s no Christo and it’s not exactly a wrapped coast or a giant curtain in a valley, but it’s a start. Even Claude Monet started with some early caricatures that are pretty puerile. Ha, and his teachers think he doesn’t like to “art.” In reality, he loves it, he’s just more conceptual than his classmates. Pretty advanced actually. While they’re struggling to scribble circles, he’s busy breaking ground in abstract preschool art. How avant-garde: a sock in the mail. What a snob.
7. A sign from God. Perhaps the Almighty is just reminding me who’s in charge. Well, he needn’t be so dramatic and random — I know I’m not in charge around here, believe me. I spend most of my time making sure that Nate and Sam don’t think they’re in charge. It’s basically a big free for all around here. Total anarchy.
8. An ominous, yet very weak threat from Nate. But who is he threatening? Me? The sock? Nancy? Sam?
10. Nate was disciplining the sock. Maybe it got out of line and Nate or Sam put it in time out. I can’t imagine what possible infraction a sock could commit, though. It was on the wrong foot? It slid down into the bottom of his shoe? Nate has very limited patience for such irritations — remember this is a kid who becomes enraged if one of us looks at him before he’s had his coffee. Oh, wait — that’s me.
11. Payment to the mail carrier. For some favor or prearranged agreement? Maybe she agreed to ship out a secret package for him. Maybe she’s been smuggling in fruit snacks now that I’ve stopped buying them. Maybe she’s hulling out the loads of food that I put on his plate at dinner and he doesn’t eat. I can’t be mad at him if this is the case, but does he really think that a sock is the best means of payment?
12. Some angry worms dropped it in there. Perhaps they were feeling disrespected, finally fed up with having Nate’s clothes discarded on top of their holes.
13. He’s protecting the sock — probably from Sam — and thought the mail slot was the safest place for it, akin to Al Gore’s lockbox.
And now, one question remains — where’s the other sock?