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The One-Shoe Enigma



To the editors:

At last Cecil took on that great mystery of the universe, the single shoe phenomenon! Even though his reply (Straight Dope, April 7 to Anonymous of St. Paul, Minnesota) lacked serious scientific scrutiny, at least it acknowledged this curiosity, about which the scientific community has been suspiciously silent. As a life-long observer of the one-shoe enigma, I can offer several observations to Anonymous:

1) A few weeks ago, while driving on I-5, the main Seattle freeway, I noticed that the passenger of the car in front of me was holding a shoe out the window. Accelerating to investigate, I saw that the shoe in question appeared to be covered with some foul substance (canine in origin, I speculated). As I continued to follow this car, the passenger lost his hold on the ill-fated Nike. They slowed down, but then appeared to give up, and drove on, leaving the shoe to help carry on the legend.

2) A neighbor of mine arrived home, disgruntled. She had taken her children to the beach and had inadvertently left one of the kids' sandals on top of her car. She (unlike the aforementioned owner of the befouled shoe) had tried to rescue them upon feeling them clump down the back of the Volvo, but the highway was too busy and the sandals had already been run over multiple times. During the next few days, I traversed that stretch of road and saw, indeed, Noel's sandals (in flattened state). Now, the clincher: a week later I drove on Bothell highway once again, and ONLY ONE SHOE WAS LEFT.

I don't suggest that all one-shoe apparitions owe their existence to these two derivations (I'm feeling positively Reaganesque in my anecdotal offering), but it was comforting for me to know that at least they weren't all the result of roadway accidents of such seriousness that those involved didn't notice the loss of their footwear.

Thank you for at least bringing this to light!

Joyce Kehoe

Seattle, Washington

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