While going through the basket of clean laundry that sits at the end of our bed (in eternal (but eternally unfulfilled) optimism that it might actually be put away), Hubby accuses, "You used one of my socks out of context!"
This is what I'm up against.
[Update:] This is the way my brain works--after Hubby made that comment on Friday morning, my brain kept chasing its own tail about what the real "context" of a sock was. Hubby meant that I had used one of his socks with a sock from a different pair, thereby leaving an unmated sock in the basket.
(It is way more important to one of us than the other that our socks be mated. I've always lived by Steven Wright's philosophy in the sock department--he doesn't go by color, he goes by thickness except in my case, since 98% of the socks in our house are white and color isn't an issue, I don't go by style, length,ownership, or even thickness, but by availability, which means I'm often wearing a girl's ankle sock that's been widowed in a freak accident involving teething puppies and a men's crew sock with a stretched out top that flops against my calf like a partially shed skin.
I do try to avoid Hubby's socks and I do try to go for everyone else's socks that are worn out or already mismatched--in other words I try to go for the socks that have been abandoned and rejected by the rest of the family (and thus less likely to be missed, or in Hubby's case desperately pined for). If I am reduced for whatever reason (pick one: a) laziness, b) disorganization, c) desperation, and d) extreme tardiness brought on by all of the above) to grabbing Hubby's socks, I am always, always careful to take a matched set both because I know it ruins his whole day to have a single in a basketful of pairs and because if I take a pair, I am way less likely to be "caught" and have to listen to him rant about "people" (by which he means me) "stealing" (by which he means borrowing--no he probably does mean stealing, but really it's just borrowing) his socks (by which he means his socks).
What happens, though, is that regardless of my stealthy, pairs-only sock stealing, and regardless of whether I've actually stolen any of his socks or not, I still have to listen to him rant about missing socks, which he's always convinced have been stolen, not merely misplaced in the dryer or wherever it is they disappear to by the millions in "normal" (by which I mean not my own) households. Despite his deep-seated conviction, I had not stolen/borrowed a single (or pair of) sock(s) in several weeks prior to the morning in question. And speaking of the morning in question, let's close these parentheses and get on with the brain-chasing-tail portion of our post.)
I'm not sure what you would call using a sock without its mate (On one of its trips around the futile tail chase, my brain observed that socks--especially those purchased in multipacks--are actually polygamists and can be mated with any other sock from their pack as well as with any other sock from any other pack of the same style/brand/size. Socks are the Casanovas of the clothing world, but again, I've wandered from the original point which was:) I'm not sure what you would call using a sock without (one of) its mate(s)--mismatching, misusing, misappropriating or (to use some letter of the alphabet other than "m") stealing a single, but whatever you call it, I'm pretty sure that using a sock "out of context" must mean something entirely different than merely pairing it with the "wrong" sock. (Right or wrong sock is a gray area if you ask me and not merely because most of the once white socks that comprise 98% of our household's sock inventory have been overworn and underwashed to varying shades of that color.)
To the extent that a sock (or socks, though for the purposes of our argument, it seems more accurate to deal with the sock on an individual basis) can be said to have a context, I'm pretty sure putting it on a foot is precisely the context in which a sock belongs. Now, if you were to use the sock, say, as a mitten, that might be a little out of context. And if you were to mix a martini (shaken or stirred) in a sock--an enterprise that would no doubt fail in a spectacular fashion, particularly if you were using one of our very off-white socks--that would be using a sock extremely out of context.
When it comes to the expression "Put a sock in it." we are once again in a gray area. Is this proper sock context or not? I'm not sure, why don't I try it and find out?