Once, when I was little, my family had a real mystery experience—total Encyclopedia Brown stuff. Someone ate an entire bunch of bananas and nobody would fess up. Was it my brother? Was it the babysitter? Did a stranger break into the house and steal the bananas? Did a group of stray monkeys have a party while we slept?
I recognize that this story lacks serious mystery street cred…but when I was seven, this was big news. We called it “The Mystery of the Missing Bananas” and theorized about it for years.
So now, I would like to add to the family collection of confusing mysteries of the mundane. Please consider, “the Mystery of the Stolen Shoes.”
We had a party last night. Everyone, as you might imagine, arrived at our house in shoes. Some people took their shoes off when they came in, not wanting to track in the remnants of autumn leaves and an evening thundershower.
Then, people left the party, taking their shoes with them.
But when our friends Jill and Brian tried to leave, they had a problem. Jill’s boots were gone. There was a pair of boots by the door, but they were 7 1/2s and Jill wears 9s. We searched everywhere—under the coats on the guestroom bed, under the bed, in the closets, behind the doors. But her boots were seriously nowhere to be found.
In the end, Brian pulled the car around and Jill just had to hop sock-footed down the path.
As we cleaned up late last night, we discovered that the 7 1/2s were still sitting right by the door.
So, someone came to our party in 7 1/2s and left in 9s. And still hasn’t noticed. That’s right. Someone has been walking around in someone else’s shoes that are a size and half too big for 24 hours without considering anything to be out of the ordinary.
Theories? Was it you? Fess up.
After a few phone calls, Sandy located our culprit. Our friend Sara sheepishly explained, “my boots always make my feet hurt when I wear them too long. So when I came over for the party, I took them off. When I left, I thought, these boots are so comfortable! I’m so glad I took them off for a few hours! I didn’t even think they might not be mine.”
I learned something new from every Encyclopedia Brown mystery I read as a kid. You can’t put change in your right pocket with your left hand while running, cello players can’t wear mini-skirts, and when your lights are on at night, everyone on the street can see in your windows.
So, in this tradition, I offer you a new life lesson: if your boots were uncomfortable when you came to the party, they’d better be uncomfortable when you leave. No matter how much apricot punch and sweet potato pancakes you’ve had.