Last weekend my nieces came down to visit. They’re little, only about 6 or 8 or another even number under 10, and we decided to go on an adventure through the neighborhood. We had breakfast, checked out the park, avoided the homeless, and even stopped for an ice cream cone. It was too perfect. A picture would have made great social media fodder.
Then, disaster struck. One of the girls managed to drag her foot through a gelatinous pile of dog doo. Questionable green clumps closely followed marbled brown streaks that were all over, and under, her brand new white sneakers. God damn. Everything was going so well.
I carefully clawed a response from the recesses of my brain in an attempt to subdue the situation. I had it, I thought. Something profoundly optimistic.
“You know, you took a lot of steps today,” I insisted, briefly hesitating, “...and only one of them was in shit.”
How inspirational. It really sounded great at the time.
“Yeah, but my shoes are ruined.” she quipped back.
The truth, coldy presented by a child, dragged me from my inspirational podium and dropped me face first in front of her fetid footwear. Her outlook was grim, but so was the situation. She was right. Her shoes were wrecked. I lacked the proper resources and the stomach necessary for a clean-up job – that poo was nuclear and it was not going anywhere. I tried to make a metaphor and she made a much better one.
You can take all the right steps in life, but one wrong move and you can find yourself buried in shit. Weird, green shit that won’t ever come off. Even if you somehow managed to get it off, you’ll still walk around with a permanent stink. It’s almost like a vampire bite. Just the experience alone could transform you into a bitter, hostile person. You might stop holding doors open for the elderly or start cutting people off in traffic for the rest of your life, even subconsciously, just to cope.
That’s why we yanked her shoes off and decided to make our way back barefoot. If you find yourself covered in mysterious sidewalk excrement, I encourage you to do the same. Change plans. Abanon the shoes and ditch the stink. No memento, no memory. It was your feet that got you there in the first place and they’re a lot easier to wash.
Try not to step in shit, guys.