Friday, March 29, 2002

I passed a dead sock on the side of the road this morning.

By "dead," I mean soggy, dirty, and obviously run over several times, lying in a twisted, tragic lump and looking, at first glance, like a mutilated chipmunk.

I just have to ask this question. How the hell do so many socks and shoes inevitably end up on the highways and streets of our great country? Do people just not notice that their shoes are flying out the window? Do passengers stick their sock-clad feet up on the dash, kicking back for a long drive, when suddenly… whoooooooooosh! the wind snatches a sock right off their unsuspecting foot? Do kids roll down back seat windows and amuse themselves by jettisoning footwear?

As a kid, this really bothered me. I imagined some poor guy hopping around with only one tennis shoe.

A lady called into a radio show once and told a story about her mother, which she swore was true. The old woman used to take walks near a local highway. On one of her walks, she found a fairly nice red shoe. She picked it up and took it home with her. God knows why. Weeks later, she found another red shoe along the same stretch of road. It turned out to be a perfect match, and she sold the pair at a garage sale for five bucks.

Cute, right. Well, I think there’s a dark side. Imaging being that woman, finding a pair of shoes like that. Could you ever, ever pass a mangled shoe on the roadside again?

For the rest of her life, this poor old woman must have combed streets and overpasses, picked up moldy, rain-soaked shoes, hoarded them carefully in a closet or basement just waiting for the day when a mate would turn up.

I can only hope she and hopping guy eventually found each other and put an end to the madness.

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