While in line at the smoke shop, your best friend suddenly remembers it’s your birthday. She grabs an impulse-buy packet of frog socks (black socks, green frogs with goggle eyes glued to their foreheads) and pays a kid on a bike to deliver them so that she doesn’t have to see the look on your face when you open the package.
A week later, you run into your best friend at the bakery buying a box of hash brownies. She asks you in a hurt tone why you aren’t wearing the frog socks she bought you.
The week after that, you are supposed to meet your best friend at the farmer’s market. You figure if you don’t wear the frog socks, she will send you on another guilt trip. You wear them with that pair of low-cut deck shoes that you hate, but are the only ones you own that don’t completely cover these socks.
You go to the farmer’s market.
You are seen wearing the frog socks.
Not by your best friend (who has stood you up for an impromptu coffee date with a local DJ), but by your Aunt Deidre and Cousin Penelope at the apple cider stand. You make small talk and fabricate an excuse to miss the big family reunion next week in Pickering.
At the family reunion, there is talk about you.
Specifically, about your hosiery.
That Christmas, you receive gifts from your aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Every single gift is a pair of novelty socks.
You get a pair of socks that play “Jingle Bells” when you press the button sewn into the cuff.
You get two and a half pairs of XXL “I’m Too Sexy for These Socks” socks. The gift tag from Aunt Deidre reads, “Thought of you when I saw these, since we noticed you like novelty socks!”
A week after Christmas, a package arrives from your Uncle Bulganian.
It’s a pair of used deck shoes and a card with a frog on it, “Because I heard you like frogs.”
Normally, you would throw the socks out, but you lost your job recently, and you can’t afford to buy new socks. You start wearing the novelty socks at home.
Three weeks later, you receive an invitation to Cousin Penelope’s bridal shower from Aunt Deirdre with a note strongly suggesting that you wear the Jingle Bells socks Penelope bought you for Christmas.
There is no getting out of this shower — not after you blew off the family reunion in Pickering.
At the bridal shower, no one notices your socks, except for your three-year-old cousin, Henrietta. Henrietta is a budding fashionista, and she knows that what those socks need are chocolate brown accents. She pours a jar of hot fudge sauce over your foot.
As you are soaking the sock in the sink to get the hot fudge sauce out, you receive a text from a potential employer notifying you that a previous candidate didn’t show up for his job interview, and as you were on the waitlist, they would like to interview you in his place.
The interview is across town. You don’t have time to go home and put on a clean pair of socks. But that’s okay because you’re wearing long pants, so no one can actually see your socks unless they stare at your ankles at ground-level, like Henrietta did.
You make it to the job interview. It seems to be going well. You allow yourself to hope that your long stretch of unemployment may be coming to an end.
As the interview concludes, you are asked if you have any questions for the interview panel. Feigning nonchalance, you cross your legs. This inadvertently activates the sound button on your musical socks. The expectant silence is broken by your sock. Said sock was not designed to survive an encounter with hot fudge sauce followed by a cold-water soak. The sound it produces no longer resembles “Jingle Bells” or even a reasonable hand-drawn facsimile. No, the sound emanating from your ankle sounds like a castrated Guinea pig riding an electrocuted reindeer into the screaming void of winter.
Two weeks later, you receive a letter from the prospective employer notifying you that you did not get the job. The rejection letter states that they don’t think that you would be a good fit for their organization.
You head out to the job center to see if you can find something — anything — resembling gainful employment. Since you’re not going to an interview and you’re down to your last pair of clean socks, you wear the frog socks. The frogs’ goggle eyes rattle as you walk, upsetting several high-anxiety lapdogs out for a walk. One of the frog’s goggle eyes comes unstuck while you are walking and lands at the feet of a small child. The child sees it and starts shrieking in terror. Its mother calls the police.
You flee, rip off the frog socks and throw them over the railing of a bridge, screaming, “There! Are you happy now?”
You are cited by a local law enforcement officer for both littering and loitering. The officer is nothing if not alliterative.
Desperate for money, you attempt to hold up a bank. As a disguise, you pull one of your “I’m Too Sexy for These Socks” socks over your head.
The bank tellers screech with laughter. They have not seen anything so amusing since Ben did that thing with the limequat and the aloe plant at the Christmas party.
A month later, while you are panhandling on the street, your best friend stumbles over you. The first thing she says is, “Why aren’t you wearing the frog socks I bought you?”
You have been charged with second-degree murder.
Your lawyer thinks you have a case for justifiable homicide.