“Jeffrey and the Runaway Sock (Not a Children’s Story),” by R.D. Ronstad

Apr 24th, 2019 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Socks….hate their lives.
–Jerry Seinfeld                           

Editor’s note: In the profile of Jeffrey Banks we ran in the July issue of  It’s Clothing Time, we learned, not surprisingly, that Mr. Banks elicits a variety of responses from shoppers as he travels the country visiting chain store men’s departments spreading his message calling for a better life for socks. He’s been labeled as many things during these visits: a comedian, a charlatan, a nut, a loser desperate for attention, a forward thinker, a visionary. E-mails we received after running the profile contained similar responses.

For his part, Mr. Banks has always responded to such comments by saying he’s just a normal, ordinary guy who one day (a little over a year ago) received a letter from a runaway sock that changed the course of his life. Reluctant to reveal much of the letter’s contents before because of their (and also his) sensitive nature, Mr. Banks has now decided, in response to inquiries from us, that “it’s time,” and graciously granted It’s Clothing Time permission to print the full text of the letter, which appears below.

Dear Jeffrey:

I’m sorry I walked out on you, leaving you empty-footed. But living in your sockverse had become unbearable, as your remaining socks can attest–although I doubt you’d get an answer if you asked them. For the most part, socks are the trembling bunnies of habiliments, so they’d probably be too afraid to answer, just as they’re too afraid to leave the way I did.

So, why was living with you so insufferable? Let me count the ways:

1. Your feet are a pain in the gusset.You know how you’ve sometimes been known to say that your feet are barking? Well, they really are—constantly. If you’re ever of a mind to name them, you should call them Felix and Oscar. They bicker with each other over everything: Trump’s wall (the left is right and the right is left on this one), the best song ever with foot (or feet) in the title, which of them is the best dancer—everything, and they never stop. You usually don’t hear them because your head is up there in the clouds, but on ground level it gets really, really annoying. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve often fantasized about putting your feet down.

2. The way you do your laundry sucks. You always use cold water to save money, and since you live in Duluth and you keep your washer and dryer on the back porch, well, let’s just say I was often so cold that if I had teeth, they’d have chattered faster than a hungry auctioneer. And then you waste money by using too much detergent. Don’t you know that using less detergent than what it says on the bottle will do the job just as well? But you use way more. My world always began spinning before the motor even kicked in. Now, the drying part was fine, I kind of enjoyed that. Warm, but not too warm (permanent press?). And the dryer sheets you use are s-u-h-w-e-et! But then you’d ruin the buzz by throwing all us socks unfolded and pell-mell together in a drawer, literally treating us like garbage (which we all know we’ll end up being one day, don’t kid yourself—reason enough for me to have left!). Would you treat your pants or shirts that way, or even your stupid-ass ties? I don’t think so!

3. Whenever you rode your bike to the supermarket or the park and I ended up on your right foot, you’d pull me up and stretch me out (ouch!) to cover your pant leg so it wouldn’t get caught in the bicycle chain. I am not Elastagirl!

4. A number of times I’ve heard you use the phrase “put a sock in it.” Don’t you realize how utterly offensive that is to socks? What if people walked around saying “put Jeffrey in it”? Or put “Jeffrey’s mom in it”? Or “put Jeffrey’s dog in it”? Or “put Katherine McPhee from Scorpion in it”? How would that make you feel?

5. Your carpet maintenance is the worst! Here’s a list of things I involuntarily picked up from your carpet over time: crumbs, a stray piece of scotch tape, dental floss, an unbent paper clip, part of a potato chip, more crumbs, the corner of a potato chip bag, part of a peanut shell, toenail clippings, more crumbs, an unpopped popcorn kernel, a piece of some kind of sugar-coated gummy animal, more crumbs, fresh blood (origin unknown, thankfully), a dead ant, more crumbs, hair (both human and animal), a small pebble, a more than generous helping of dust and lint, dog drool, more crumbs…well, I could go on. Suffice it to say that a trip across your carpet was like traversing a midden.

I know you probably wasted precious time looking for me after I disappeared, thinking maybe I fell under the couch or got stuck in a shirtsleeve or got abandoned in the dryer or something. And when your search finally failed, you may have begun to doubt your sanity, because socks “don’t just get up and walk away.” Maybe you even damned me (or darned me-ha! ha!) once or twice.

Well, I apologize for all that and felt bad enough to write this letter explaining my absence, a letter which I also hope might inspire you to make life a little easier for the friends I left behind. Although, what is to be done about your feet, I just don’t know.


Your ex-sock

PS. I hope you will pardon my hand(foot?)writing. As you might imagine, manipulating a pen is quite a project for a sock.


People are always asking R.D. Ronstad where he gets his ideas. Okay… what they usually actually say is: “What were you thinking?” But—same thing, right?

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.