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Bombas socks. I may give them to you or I may not.

I have a soft spot for Bombas socks. A popup on the computer for the socks grabbed me with its tagline: “The most comfortable sock you’ll ever own.” After finding that to be true, I have ordered them for the children, Sue and myself.

The last order, awhile back, included a pair each for friends because I wanted them to experience the most comfortable sock in the world, or at least the idea that there could be one.

By the time the package arrived, I had forgotten what else was in it. The socks had become a casualty of the pandemic but I expect them to make a full recovery and soon grace the feet and ankles of two lucky friends.

A couple of days ago, I emptied the socks from the white, flexible, plastic UPS shipping bag to remind myself what was in it. There were four pairs, a three-pack of the men’s vintage stripe calf socks and a pair of emerald and pink socks, all of which I have included in a photo along with a wooden duck carved by the late Leland Chow DDS and given to me by his daughter. The duck has nothing to do with the socks, I thought it might give the Bombas a jauntier look and my teeth hurt right now and my dentist has closed her office until this uneasy tide recedes.

The men’s vintage stripe calf three-pack made sense: one for me, and one each for lucky friends but I was less sure about the emerald, black and pink pair.

Hold it — pink, emerald and black — I must have gotten those for Sue. How nice of me to order some for Sue when the gift was not tethered to any specific holiday, birthday or occasion. I was just being me. Friends, sometimes there is nothing wrong with generosity for the sake of generosity.

Brimming with love, both self and otherwise, I wrapped the lovely emerald, black and pink socks in a cover of The New Yorker, walked downstairs and presented it to Sue. There was no note on the package, no Happy Birthday or anything, This is from me to you. Consider it a spring surprise.

“Thank you so much,” she said, as delighted by receiving the gift as I was with giving it.

Then, as she opened it, it all came back to me. Especially when I saw the size — “Large” — written on the cardboard wrap. Sue’s not a large, she’s not even close to a large. Not only were they a large but these were the cycling mid calf socks that I remembered ordering for myself to spice up my cycling sockwear.

“I’m sorry, those are my socks,” I said.

I had enough wherewithal to reach for the socks rather than tackle her where she stood and snatch them from her pretty white hands.

“That’s OK,” she said, handing them back to me. “It’s the thought that counts.”

That’s what I thought about the thought. It’s the idea that I was thinking about her until I wasn’t thinking about her because I was thinking about myself. She did cross my mind, if only for a second in the selection and buying process, until I moved to more important matters: me.

One thing is clear. This giver/taker is no dumb duck.

Herb Benham is a columnist for The Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at hbenham@bakersfield.com or 661-395-7279.

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