On my way to work today, I saw a sight that probably everyone has seen at least once – a lone shoe sitting in the middle of the road. Despite the common nature of this, I was perplexed. Whenever I see a shoe sitting by itself, I always wonder, “Where is its mate? How in the world did it get there? Does someone know it’s missing?”
Folks, these are questions with no easy answers. I thought long and hard this morning to come up with some answers and I present them now to you. They are, respectively: don’t know, don’t know, most likely.
But, on a more serious note, let’s examine this phenomenon a little more and see if we can’t come to some conclusions regarding the shoes. The first thing I always think happened is that it fell off of, or out of, the back of a truck. But, then I start to wonder, “How does a shoe just fall off of, or out of, the back of a truck?” I’ve had plenty of shoes in the back of a truck and not one has ever fallen off, out or in any way become separated from the truck. This explanation is clearly not reasonable.
Another possibility that must be examined is that someone, out of sheer malice may have thrown it from a car. This hypothesis has some holes, however. When I was a kid and on road trips, my siblings and I would generally take off our shoes because it was more comfortable. Inevitably, I would get mad at a sibling (usually my brother) for such heinous offenses as putting his arm on my side of the seat, staring at me, pretending to touch me and calling me names under his breath. When an appeal to parental authority didn’t resolve the situation, I would take matters into my own hands – I would grab one of his shoes and threaten to hurl it out the window. I knew I would never actually throw my brother’s shoe out the window, but if it happened to somehow fall out of my hand…
Another possibility is that the owner of the shoe could have been wearing it when he was crossing the street and an inattentive motorist may have struck the individual, knocking him clean out of his shoe(s). He would probably not have the presence of mind, while being wheeled into an ambulance, to inquire about his missing left shoe. However, in the course of the investigation, I would hope some observant police officer might happen upon the shoe and return it to its rightful owner, thus removing it from the street before I have the opportunity to ponder it.
Lastly, a fourth, and decidedly more likely, possibility needs to be discussed. I realize this may be uncomfortable for some of you to consider. Out of my kindness to the sensitivities of my readers, if you are faint of heart or easily frightened, I ask you to stop reading now because what follows will surely be disturbing to my more delicate readers. What I will speak of next has to do with things some people aren’t comfortable discussing in an open forum.
We are being invaded by aliens; our vagrant population is being abducted. You see, the shoe I saw was not a child’s shoe, so the possibility that a kid would be mad at his brother for encroaching on his vehicular territory is not a plausible explanation. It was not a newer shoe; in fact, this very shoe (like many others seen on the road) had seen its fair share of use and was almost completely worn out, not a typical shoe that your average Joe-blow would wear. This was the shoe of a person whose home was the street.
Think about this people. If YOU were to be abducted by an alien spacecraft, people would know that you were missing, questions would be asked, investigations would be started, searches would happen, billboards and signs would be erected and after all that, when you couldn’t be located, people would start looking skyward for an explanation. The aliens are smart beings and they recognize this. They don’t want the attention, thus they target people that few would notice are missing: our homeless population.
So, my friends, the next time you see a lone shoe sitting on the road, do what I do: pause for a moment of silence, bow your head and remember those who have gone before. Then, adjust your tin foil hat and get the heck outta there!