It's a well known fact that individual socks seem to disappear somewhere in the cycle of washing and drying, resulting in at least one sock which cannot be formed into a useful pair. Where these socks go is of considerable debate, but a few theories have been put forward:

The first is that the socks are simply left and forgotten somewhere in the washing process. For instance, a sock is left on the floor whilst all the others are being picked up for washing or a sock is left in the washing machine or dryer. If the sock is left on the floor you have a good chance of getting it back and forming a pair. If you leave it in the washing machine or dryer then you can still get the sock back, and you will usually find it in the next load of washing you do. However, if you wash your clothes at a laundromat, then you are pretty much screwed since the missing sock will probably piggyback with the next user's laundry.

A more extreme theory is the Ren and Stimpy postulate that all socks go to a far away planet in an alternate dimension. In a cartoon called "Black Hole", Commander Höek and Cadet Stimpy fall through a black hole, (obviously), and land on a planet with mutating properties and a mountain of lost socks from all over the universe. This theory is similar to the answer to the question "Where do all lost biros go?" as expressed in the Douglas Adams' The Restaurant At the End of the Universe. (The biros go to an unknown planet where they respond to "biro-oriented stimuli" and lead "the biro equivalent of a good life".) No known being has actually visited the sock planet or sock dimension as the case may be, so the theory has yet to be tested.

Steve Taylor suggests there is a sock heaven in a song of the same name. The song is more metaphorical than literal, though. Thus, Steve isn't really talking about socks at all!

So what's the real story? Probably a combination of the first idea (socks left in the washing machine or on the floor) and JennyPie's great explanation of how socks are sucked from the washer during the spin cycle and into the city's water treatment facilities.

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