The Problem of Socks

(Not a sponsored post. Just a post about a product I’ve never used, but am fascinated by.)

I first discovered the Sock Slider while waiting for a prescription at my local pharmacy.

Since it was spring (and thus nowhere near Halloween), I’d already exhausted the “seasonal” aisle. Spending too much time in the “candy and chocolate” section seemed a dangerous occupation. And so I turned listlessly down “As Seen on TV,” checking the time and wondering whether my name had been lost in the intercom static minutes before.

Looking away from my phone in this most torpid of moments, my gaze fell upon a middle shelf, and my consciousness awakened forever to the pinnacle of modern technology: the Sock Slider.


Socks hanging off the back of a wooden chair. Photo by Jisu Han on Unsplash


I’ll admit it. My first thought was to wonder what use this product could possibly serve. See, I’m one of those insufferable minimalists. I stubbornly avoid new items unless I can identify a significant value the item in question will add to my life. And, though I don’t consider myself particularly flexible (I can’t touch my toes, and my downward-facing dog is an absolute joke), I’m fortunate enough at my current life stage to be able to bend my knees, ankles, hips, and back with the reliability and control required to put my socks on.

And that was my second thought: the realization that not everybody is able to bend their knees, ankles, hips, and back. This trivial plastic contraption would simplify the mornings and evenings of anyone whose body resisted contortions I take for granted. For such a person, this item would add immense value.

In all likelihood, I’ll someday be among those grateful for such an invention. My present state of affairs is ephemeral. Even if I’m spared any kind of accident, my joints won’t last forever. Some of them are already creaking and crackling. I’ve certainly had a day or two wherein socks posed a logistical puzzle requiring the application of pluck and the support of a wall. Someday, those days may become most days.

Someday, those most days might be the precious few good days.

Perhaps if I’d reached someday in a bygone era, I’d’ve kludged together a solution. Something involving dowels, perhaps, and carefully clicker-training a large, amenable cat. But thanks to the modern world—thanks, in no small part, to the way well-applied capitalism encourages ingenuity and rewards the spread of ideas—I won’t have to. Someone’s already created a solution for the problem of socks. Someone’s gone through the trouble of manufacturing such items, packaging them, marketing them, and shipping them to pharmacies and home goods stores. For me, the problem is solved before it has even become a problem. Before I ever realized such a problem existed for anyone.

How wonderful to live in a world full of solutions. Not only the sweeping inventions that guide our present towards the future—the printing press, the vaccine, the internet—but the tiny, almost inconsequential ones as well.

Netted cases to protect baseball caps in the wash. Fleece blankets with built-in sleeves. Toilet-cover night lights.

I don’t mean to encourage anyone to order everything one sees on TV. I’m still a minimalist; still committed to the notion of only taking on items poised to add value.

But how marvelous to inhabit a world prepared to solve such comparatively trifling problems. Think of it all. No more concern over wear-and-tear for baseball cap enthusiasts. No more choosing between continuing a good book and staying toasty warm on long winter nights. No more pitch-dark wee hour bathroom runs and/or no more spoiling good sleepiness with a glaringly bright light.

No more dreading the exertion of applying socks to one’s feet morning after morning. No more beginning each day frustrated by one’s physical limitations. No more starting off on a losing endeavor.

What a time to be alive!

And small solutions often feed into big ones. Problems abound in this world, many of them sprawling and daunting. But human beings are tinkerers, each of us full of ideas. Ideas ripple and evolve. Solutions form and reform as new problems emerge.

Optimism cannot help but exist in a world containing Sock Sliders.

Once again – not a sponsored post! Have you ever found a simple, ingenious contraption that solved a small but critical problem in your life? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Happy witnessing!



Imaginary Baking

“Come upstairs with me,” my 4-year-old niece insisted, before the garage door had even finished closing. “We’re having a dinner party.”

It was 8:30 in the morning, and my 6-year-old nephew was heading in to have his tonsils removed. I’d agreed to help my sister out by watching my niece for most of the day. Continue reading “Imaginary Baking”

Harsh, and Brimming with Life

To begin by saying nature is changeable would be to state the obvious, but I hope my readers will indulge me. Obvious or not, the cycles of nature can’t help but fascinate. And nowhere have they seemed more pronounced to me than in the desert.

Early this March, a week and a half after Las Vegas’ historic snowfall, I and a group of extended family members went on one of my favorite hikes in Red Rock Canyon, just west of the city. Red Rock Canyon consists of a thirteen-mile scenic driving loop off of which twenty-six marked hiking trails can be reached. Each offers something new and special: archeological information, unique rock formations, conservancy initiatives. Continue reading “Harsh, and Brimming with Life”

Memento Vitae I – or, The Pansies and the Rainbows

Lawana, Andrew’s paternal grandmother, passed away on Palm Sunday. Her passing was not unexpected, but the timing was sudden. Andrew and I arrived in time for her viewing on Good Friday. We laid her to rest on Holy Saturday.

Easter Sunday was a whirl of activity at Andrew’s parents’ place. All the siblings, their significant others, and their children had come to see the family matriarch off. Lawana had brought us together for an unexpected family holiday, and we leaned into the opportunity, exactly as she would’ve wanted. Continue reading “Memento Vitae I – or, The Pansies and the Rainbows”


Through the vast rocky desert of southern Nevada, Andrew and I are returning from an afternoon in Pahrump when we round a bend and see Las Vegas sprawled below us. 

The city appears like a mirage. Approached on desert roads at night, Las Vegas glimmers like a lake of stars, the Luxor Sky Beam suspended between heaven and earth like an anchor’s taut chain. In the daylight, the Mojave Desert opens wide and reveals a civilization of millions.

View of Las Vegas from the southeast. Photo by Ryan Hafey on Unsplash

Continue reading “Chiaroscuro”

Even Our Overpass Stones are Jeweled

Once the days get warm and sunny enough, the outdoors pull at Andrew to start up Pokemon Go again, wandering the nearby neighborhoods in search of exercise, whimsy, and vitamin D. I’m not far behind, chattering away alongside him about whatever I’ve been reading lately, full of lamentations that my potato-phone can’t support the game.

Photo by Sara Codair on Unsplash

Continue reading “Even Our Overpass Stones are Jeweled”

Memento Mori II – Or, A Bone in the Streambed

When northern Utah’s spring comes and the accumulated mountain snow begins to melt, the canyon creeks swell and roar with clear churning water. Hikers beside them must shout to be heard. Tumbling rocks scuttle and scrape beneath the surging torrent. The frothing rumble of the deluge echoes against the red cliffs. Winter is swept away with a welcome violence, clawing at its last stone-shadowed hollows.

But on this February day in 2012, winter still ruled Rock Canyon. Continue reading “Memento Mori II – Or, A Bone in the Streambed”

No Accounting for Symbolism – or, Library Pressed Flowers

Generally speaking, one prefers that unexpected things not fall out of library books onto one’s face.

Yet there I was a few weeks back, curled up in bed, engrossed in Caitlin Doughty’s Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, when I turned a page and—well, the next thing I knew, my limbic system had kicked on and I was scrambling aside, swatting at my face and staring at the dark fluttering thing now landing on my sheets. Continue reading “No Accounting for Symbolism – or, Library Pressed Flowers”