(The following was published Jan 16,2009 in the Newsleader)
You’ve seen them. They mostly are visible in the summertime. They are there year round but you really see them in summer. What am I talking about? I’m talking about older men in shorts with black socks on.
I can remember my thoughts when first viewing this phenomenon. What a terrible fashion faux pas I thought. Everybody knows that with shorts you wear white socks. Don’t these guys know what they look like? I never ridiculed them out loud but I sure had my thoughts even though I kept them to myself. I excused the act by just figuring that these old guys just don’t care what they look like. They have much more important things to deal with.
Well judgment day has arrived for me as it always seems to do. It began innocently enough. I started having some mild swelling in my left foot and in my lower leg. It occurred mostly during high humidity. When weather moderated, the problem usually went away. Then I began experiencing mild pain in my leg. Finally, after much nagging from my wife, I went to the doctor.
Superficial phlebitis was the diagnosis. What? Isn’t that what old people get? It is basically an inflammation of the blood vessels. Left untreated, it could get much worse and eventually it could be fatal if clots occur and travel through my system and lodge in my lungs. This is what sometimes happens to long distance flyers who sit for long periods without moving. Blood settles in their lower extremities and when disturbed can travel through the system and cause deadly results.
Believe me I was sufficiently frightened into taking care of the problem. So, I ask, what is the treatment? How do I deal with this? The doctor looked straight at me and replied, black socks. Black socks? You’ve got to be kidding. Oh they were serious all right. Actually they are compression stockings which put pressure on my legs and restrain the runaway flow of blood. They just happened to be black. I suppose one could find these stockings in a different color but at over fifty dollars a pair I will just stay with what I have.
I call them my dork socks. On my dork scale I figure these socks rate a ninety three on the one hundred scale. When asked what would it take for the scale to register higher I replied wearing them with shorts and dress shoes. I draw the line there. I have my standards.
So what is the message here? What have I learned? In a nutshell it is a lesson I should have learned years ago. Don’t judge too harshly situations you don’t have enough information about. In other words, don’t judge a book by its cover. I also learned there are some things that are worse than someone thinking you look like a dork. Besides, you might be a dork. You may not have to look too far to find someone who has a much worse situation than merely black socks.
If you see me or one of the many others so afflicted this summer, don’t snicker out loud. Be patient with us and we promise not to act as dorky as we look.
Ron Scarbro September 17, 2008
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