Socks have an intrinsic tendency to pair themselves with dissimilar socks. I believe overcoming this defect is is one of the great engineering challenges for this century. While walking around in mismatched socks might be perfectly tolerable for some, I believe that even engineers have to uphold some level of civilized behavior, and I have never been fond of pairing socks manually.
Furthermore, my sock stock is growing obsolete. I am sure there are items at least 5 years old in there. I soon realized solving this problem required a radical, new approach. Some might say – a paradigm shift.
So I threw away all my old socks and bought new ones: 15 pairs of the same model of sock. The implication is huge: my socks will now invariably pair themselves up neatly, by the simple process of randomly choosing two socks from a pile. (And it’s a nice model of sock – black and nifty enough to be worn with a suit.)
But I also need to establish a maintenance process. This model will go out of sale. Strange as it may seem, sock vendors do not provide End Of Service agreements even for small-enterprise customers such as myself, so you never know when this will be. It’s safest to assume that once the items have been acquired, replacements are no longer available on the market.
So what I’m thinking is that when I’m – due to wear-and-tear, lossage, etc – down to, say, 12 pairs, I’ll buy 15 new pairs of some other model. This of course will mean that the automatic pairing property breaks, but it will still be extremely simple to manually match the socks into two piles, for both of which the property holds.
Once one stock falls to, say, 9 pairs, then that model will be brought out of circulation – they will probably be approaching their natural end-of-life date by then anyway and already written off. So then I’ll purchase a new set of 15 pairs. Again, a new model can be chosen to offset changes in taste over the life cycle period.
This means that there will never be more than two models in circulation simultaneously, thus the amount of manual sorting required will be kept at a minimum. And, once in the loop, there will always be at least 24 and at most 27 pairs in circulation, using the numbers I’ve conjectured above. These numbers will be tweaked based on gathered real-world usage data.
Of course, the exact number of socks in circulation at a given time will have to be estimated from observed data, which will be imperfect because of socks’ other intrinsic property of showing up at indeterministic locations. If, due to inconsistency, an older generation model of sock – one already taken out of service – is suddenly found, it will have to be immediately disposed of.
This should solve all my sock problems.