Dear Esteemed Dr. Boli: When, if ever, is it considered acceptable to devour someone else’s socks? I was recently in a dire situation where socks were the only sustenance I could easily allocate; upon my return to civilization I was reprimanded for not adhering to strict rules of etiquette set in stone by Lady Alphariss of the Sarantopolis Hedgerow. —Sincerely, Scuba Joe.

Dear Sir: The rules of etiquette, like other scientific laws, change and develop over time, as researchers in the discipline make new discoveries and refine their knowledge. For that reason, you may wish to avail yourself of a more modern book of etiquette. In addition to the obvious advantages of the most up-to-date research in the science, modern books of etiquette are usually printed on paper, which has many advantages over stone and appears to be displacing it in all the more respectable publishing houses.

In the case of eating socks, the modern rule is that necessity trumps decorum nine times out of ten. Your use of the word “allocate,” however, suggests that there was more than one mouth to feed, and that somehow you had ended up in charge of the distribution of sustenance. Might you not have come to some sort of agreement by which you would eat each other’s socks? In that way, by mutual consent, you would have defused the meddlesome question of etiquette altogether.