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The sock lottery

Blue sock

A generic sock

It’s a well known fact that socks vanish, often under mysterious circumstances. This “black hole of socks” has never been adequately explained, but has been linked in the past both to “laundry day” and separately to “messy teenagers”.

This post is about neither. This post is about the “sock lottery”.

Every week I do my laundry which among other things, includes seven pairs of socks. Fourteen socks. I’ve got this thing where I always hang socks on the dryer in pairs. This way I can both satisfy myself that none of my socks have succumbed to the aforementioned black hole, and it’s easier to pair them up before putting them away.

Now, here’s the thing. On many occasions the first seven socks I’ve pulled out of the washing machine have all been different. Obviously this is quite a rare event, but it’s not unusual that the first five socks don’t match. How can this be? Mathematical genius that I am, my head hurts even thinking about how to work this out, but surely the odds are against this?

So I would like to know why I only win the (very) occasional tenner in the National Lottery? One would think that, having beaten the odds so convincingly in the world of socks, I could do the same when the big bucks are at stake. Sure, the odds of winning the lottery are much higher than the whole sock thing, but I’m not greedy. One of those medium-sized prizes would do me just fine.

Then I suppose, looking at it another way, I actually want socks to come out in pairs. So one might argue that even when the odds are clearly in my favour, I still can’t win.

Categories: My Life Musings
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