I’m much in debt to the i for this, and also to some pointyheads at Samsung.

Right. What do you think this equation is?

(L/p x f) + C(t x s)) – (P x A)

If you didn’t see the report in the paper, you won’t have the foggiest idea. However, what we have is a mathematical description of an animal of which you are all aware. Yes, the propellorheads at Samsung commissioned a psychologist and a statistician to work out the parameters of the infamous Sock Monster. You know, the little demonic force that lives in your washing machine and eats your socks.

This may not sound too important, and it isn’t really. Somehow the researchers worked out that Briton lose an average of 1.3 socks per month, but over time this equates to about 2500 quid, with a lifetime total of 1300 socks going AWOL.

Interestingly, one of the factors in the determination of the Sock Loss Index is how much you enjoy or dislike doing laundry; the factor P is an expression of the positivity towards doing the wash. L is the size of the wash, C is the notional complexity, and A is how much attention you pay.

I have trouble with the idea of C being anything other than 0. I wash things either on hot, or at a lower temperature for woollens and stuff. That’s as complex as my laundry arrangements get, but some of you doubtless spend hours separating the wash into different loads. I think life’s a tad short for that.

There were some quirky ‘statistics’ to go with this piece of eccentric idiocy. People in the Midlands are the most prone to be affected by a Sock Monster. I can only hazard that they’re given to wearing coloured socks, since apparently these are much more likely to do a runner (did you see what I did there?) than patterned or white socks.

One bit of the research didn’t need to be done. Yes, I know none of it needed to be done, but this is so bloody obvious it should have come with a health warning. The most common cause of a missing sock is when one falls behind a radiator. No science required to figure out that little truth that is universally acknowledged.

I’m looking forward to the findings from research on the Sock Monster’s first cousin, the Hankie Gremlin.