Things Others (Not Me) Have Accomplished While Wearing Socks

Things Others (Not Me) Have Accomplished While Wearing Socks

by Mark Lyons

SammySocks Etc. Blog - Comments and Observations from Someone Who Is a Retired Educator and Sammy’s Dad

Image by Simon Steinberger from Pixabay

     People (other than me) have accomplished many great things while wearing socks. Let us take a look at a few, shall we?

     King John and the Signing of the Magna Carta – June 15, 1215 dawned a warm morning. King John of England had decided to go with his neon bright green flip flops to help ward off the upcoming heat of the day. One of his butlers, I believe it was Alfie, suggested that King John, aka “Softsword”, wear his more formal brown swayback sandals with a fresh pair of brown socks. Alfie knew that it was going to be a momentous day.

     The Building of the Great Pyramids – Hemiunu, supposedly the architect of the Great Pyramids, had a problem building the pyramids even before they began construction. He did not know how to get the stone on top of each other to build up the pyramids. The workers were always complaining of sand in their sandals. They could only work so long and heave the stones only so far before having to stop and shake out the sand. It was not working, way over budget and missing all his deadlines. He was babysitting his niece one sunny afternoon (it was the weekend and he didn’t have to work on the pyramids on the weekends) when she asked him to help her change her socks. He did and noticed that there was no sand in her old pair of socks. An idea hit him like a ton of bricks or like a ton of pyramid stones. Socks! He would get all the workers to wear socks. They would not get sand in them and they would be able to finish building the pyramids in no time flat. Great idea! (Rumor has it that later in his life, he wore brown sandals and black socks all the time and started the fashion trend that swept the world for older men.)

     Leonardo da Vinci and the Painting of the Mona Lisa – Leonardo (LDV to his friends) had always painted barefoot. Up until 1503, none of his works had sold well. Some had been sold and put up above people’s couches and others had been put up above some man cave bars, but for the most part, LDV was a second-rate starving artist. His mom had been nagging him to put on socks because Florence was chilly place. She did not want him to catch cold. So, finally, Leonardo gave in and put on a pair of woolen socks that Santa had left him the year before. That very same day, Leonardo started his famous painting of the Mona Lisa. Rumor has it that, even though you cannot see it in the painting, LDV’s mom also had convinced Mona to put on a pair of socks, too.

     Michelangelo’s Painting of the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – Pope Julius II wanted his bathroom in the Vatican repainted. It had not been painted since about 1500 and was looking a bit ratty. He had heard that this local painter, Michelangelo, was good with bathrooms so he hired him. Michelangelo somehow misunderstood what the Pope wanted and ended up painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When the Pope found out later (apparently, he did not look up at the ceiling during services), he was furious. He had wanted a lime green bathroom with brown accents. The cardinals were able to calm the Pope down and he later rather liked the painting. Anyway, Michelangelo wore socks the whole time he was painting. He told his assistants, “My socks are my inspiration.”

     William Shakespeare and the Writing of His Famous Plays – The Bard loved socks. He had a huge sock collection. He often tried to slip in references to socks in his plays and sonnets. Many of the first drafts of his most famous lines from his plays and sonnets referred to socks in some way. The later and final versions, not so much. Here are some examples of his first drafts and then the final versions:

     1st Draft – “To wear socks, or not to wear socks: that is the question.”

     Final Version – “To be, or not to be: that is the question.”


     1st Draft – “All the world wears socks, And all the men and women merely sock wearers.”

     Final Version – “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.”


     1st Draft – “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art my red fuzzy socks?”

     Final Version – “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?”


     1st Draft – “Now is the winter and we must wear socks.”

     Final Version – “Now is the winter of our discontent.”


     1st Draft – “Is this a pair of socks which I see before me.”

     Final Version – “Is this a dagger which I see before me.”


     1st Draft – “Be not afraid of socks. Some are born with socks, some achieve the wearing of socks, and some have socks thrust upon them.”

     Final Version – “Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”


     1st Draft – “If you take off our socks and prick us, do we not bleed?”

     Final Version – “If you prick us, do we not bleed?”


     1st Draft – “The course of wearing, laundering and darning socks never did run smooth.”

     Final Version – “The course of true love never did run smooth.”


     1st Draft – “Shall I compare thee to a sock?”

     Final Version – “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

     Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony – Beethoven had struggled with the first four notes of his Fifth Symphony for many weeks. He just could not get started. It was like writer’s block. Nothing seemed to work. He tried many different openings. Beethoven did come up with many openings that later did become famous but not at that time for him. For example, the first four notes of the Kit Kat commercial – “Give me a break!”. Or the first four notes of the theme to Jaws. Beethoven also came up with the first four notes of that great Beatles hit “Here Comes the Sun”. But none of these worked for him. Then one day, like many around him, Beethoven was putting on a pair of socks. The socks were inside out and as he reached in with one hand to turn them back into the right way, he noticed that his hands were warm. He stuck his other hand into his other sock to warm that hand. All of a sudden, it came to him! The famous first four notes of his Fifth Symphony! Sock wearing not in the traditional way, but sock wearing none the less.

     The Gang That Signed the Declaration of Independence – To show solidarity to the British Monarchy, the signers of the Declaration of Independence all wore the exact same pair of red, white, and blue argyle stockings (socks) to the signing ceremony. They had all just joined a local Patriot sock subscription service and their first order was these argyle socks. Red, white, and blue stars and stripes socks had not yet been invented.

     Sir Edmund Hilary, Sherpa Tensing Norgay and the Climbing of Mount Everest – The Sherpas of Mount Everest had been telling the climbers that came to scale the mountain to wear socks of a certain kind. Well, these other climbers thought they knew best. Lo and behold, Sir Edmund Hilary listened to Sherpa Tensing Norgay and was the first to climb to the top. He beat out several other guys who had worn only regular cotton argyle socks.

     Roger Bannister and the Four Minute Mile – No matter how hard he tried, Roger Bannister could not break the four-minute mile. Then he got a pair of bright blue striped socks from his Gammy, slipped them on the day of the race and the rest is history.

     The First Man on the Moon – NASA gave special socks to each of the astronauts. They were great socks. The astronauts came up with the idea of making and selling these socks as a side business. In those days, NASA did not pay their astronauts worth a darn. It was sort of like TANG, that powdered drink that was supposed to taste like oranges. Anyway, the astronauts wanted to do something big to get people interested in their sock business. They decided that the first astronaut to step foot on the moon would give a plug to the business. So, the first words that were supposed to be spoken upon stepping foot on the moon were, “That’s one small pair of socks for me, one great gift idea for you!” As you know, NASA nixed that idea and we have this instead, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

     To get your pair of socks to wear to your momentous accomplishment or just for everyday and ordinary activities, please browse the sock selections on our website, Thank you

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