The Case of the Missing Shoe

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be stupid? I don’t mean forgetful, ignorant or slow. I mean just plain stupid. Unintelligent. Lacking the necessary brain cells to determine solutions to the most mundane of things.

I am here to tell you that being stupid can be quite unpleasant. Not only that – it is annoying and can impair the lives of others, causing them unnecessary angst and grief.

Here is a case in point: A mother picks her son up early (i.e. nearly midnight, after being roused from a pleasant dream-like state due to there being one less child in the house) from a sleep-over birthday party at a friend’s house. After gathering the child’s belongings, it becomes quite clear that there is a missing shoe. After searching a darkened living room, where six or seven young lads are contentedly snoring in a tent, the mother leaves the house with the mystery unsolved.

The next day, the mother who held the sleepover party (which is the topic of a future essay on mothers who once had minds but have lost them) called to say that, after hours of hunting, she cannot find the missing shoe. She is heartbroken and apologetic, insisting that she will continue the investigation until either she drops dead from exhaustion, or the shoe is found.

The shoeless mother tells her to take a 10-minute break before resuming the back-breaking work of combing the house for the shoe. She adds, “Don’t worry, if you don’t find it, we’ll just use our grocery money to buy a new pair of shoes – we can skip a few meals this month.”

A few more hours pass and still, after phone calls to all of the suspects, i.e. parents of the other boys at the party, no shoe.

Suddenly, a phone call. The mother who is still without one shoe, answers. It is the birthday boy’s mother, who, after tearing her house apart to no avail, is so severely distraught over the situation that she has spent the night in church, praying for the missing shoe to reappear. She has vowed to work and sacrifice to make things right. But first, she asks a question. A simple question – so brilliant in its simplicity that it causes the world - for one brief moment - to stop.

“Did you look in your son’s suitcase?”

So, again, the initial question begs to be answered: Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be stupid?

I haven’t.

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