March 03, 2021
The Ren & Stimpy Show was a popular animated television series created by John Kricfalusi and originally aired on Nickelodeon. The series premiered on August 11, 1991 and ended on December 16, 1996. The show follows the adventures of Ren Höek, an emotionally unstable and sociopathic Chihuahua; and Stimpy, a good-natured yet dimwitted cat. The series was controversial for its dark humor, adult humor, and shock value. A failure to deliver episodes to the network led to Kricfalusi’s termination from the show in 1992, with Games Animation producing the remainder of the series. Despite production problems, The Ren & Stimpy Show received positive reviews and quickly developed a cult following. That would include me.
I have mentioned how when I was younger, I pinned my socks together to avoid losing a sock. When I wore the socks, I would attach the safety pin to the sock to not lose the pin either. People often made fun of me and asked if the safety pin was used to keep the sock up on my leg. I endured the ribbing smug in the knowledge that I never lost one of a pair of socks. When Melissa and I married she also questioned my habit. I finally stopped pinning my socks together and followed her habit of folding the tops together after they came out of the dryer to make it easy to grab a pair of socks from my drawer. Last year Melissa bought me three pair of copper infused socks. It was the classic three-fer, with two pair alike and the third a different color. They were also marked “R” and “L” to let me know which foot to put them on. Over the year I have somehow managed to lose two of the darker socks. When I put on the remaining pair, I noticed they were both marked “R”. I had managed to lose the two left socks.
One of my favorite episodes of Ren & Stimpy was called Black Hole. While traveling through space the pair get sucked into the “hideous vortex.” When they come out the other side of the black hole, they realize they have been teleported to another universe. As they try to find a way out, they come to a mountain of socks which were all the world’s missing left socks. Stimpy’s “space-time doohickey” then notifies him that if they do not get to the trans-dimensional gateway by 3:00 pm, they would be trapped there forever. They end up imploding, and the mountain of lost left socks is regrettably lost forever.
Thoughts: When I noticed both remaining dark socks were marked “R”, I realized Ren & Stimpy must have been right. It is only the left socks that mysteriously disappear in the dryer. I thought my mother had told me to pin the socks together, but when I mentioned this to her, she told me she knew nothing of the practice. Apparently, it was my father who had convinced me to do it. He did not like to lose socks, and this was his way to ensure it did not happen. One of the ways I now adapt to losing one sock is to only buy socks of the same color and type. If I lose one, it can be matched with another whose mate has worn out. A willingness to adapt spells the difference for moving forward or staying caught in the same repetitive cycle. That is true for my socks, but also true for the changes brought by 2020. While some laughed at countries where people wore masks prior to the outbreak, and now speak wistfully of the time when we no longer need to wear masks, I wonder if that is wise. Like influenza, covid-19 is an ongoing risk that may never go away. We will be required to adapt. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.