The Hole in my Sole

The San Francisco Bay Area’s weather is so consistently lovely that men such as myself can get away with not having their much-used dress shoes re-soled when needed. However, the jig was up for me this week as I traveled to rainy London and Liverpool. The small holes in the bottom of my shoes worked as efficient vacuum pumps, drenching my feet in icy puddle water wherever I went and soaking the leather in my shoes almost completely.

Having been through this before, at the Manchester Airport I purchased a copy of the London Times. It’s thick, tabloid style print version fits perfectly under the seat in front of me on the plane, where a combination of gravity and osmosis pulls the moisture out of my footwear during the flight.

Being no doubt jet-lagged, I stuck the sodden newspaper in my carry-on as I debarked the final leg of my trip, and unpacked the damp periodical to my wife’s surprise when I returned home. Having glimpsed the front of the paper but not knowing where I had changed planes she asked:

Is that the New York Times?

No, I responded.

The L.A. Times?

No, you will never guess it, so I will just tell you that

These are the Times that dry men’s soles.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

26 thoughts on “The Hole in my Sole”

    1. Yeah I know, sorry : ). The thing with my shoes really happened this week, and I really did pick up the Times of London at Manchester Airport and then I remembered this truly awful Edwin Newman pun which with some variation could make a truly awful blog post and…

      1. When the Times’ William Safire once explained what would get a film banned as hard core pornography, he said, “It’s not the teat, it’s the tumidity.”

        1. So a wondrous woman made of igneous rock decided to leave her sister stony Amazons and live with the tree people in the second bioregion over to the west.

          She was warmly welcomed by everyone there, but she felt to herself that she didn’t truly fit in because, like all Amazon women, she’d removed one of her breasts in order to be a more efficient archer. One day, she went to the tree people healers to see what could be done. The tree healers fit her with a perfectly formed breast, exactly like her old one, but made of wood, not stone.

          This breast suited the woman well for many years, but finally, she longed to be made entirely of stone again. She went back to the healers for their help.

          “It’s beyond our capacity to give you a breast of stone,” they told her. “You must travel to the exotic and uncivilized lands of California and consult the Old Surfer Dude.”

          She went to California, and after a long search (and a stay in the very congenial Bay Area), she found her way to the beaches and the Old Surfer Dude.

          “I can fix you right up!” the Old Surfer Dude said, handing her a complete works of the Beach Boys, from the early singles to the Dennis Wilson solo albums and even a bootleg of Mike Love counting money while touching himself. “Listen to this on random play, with your hands on your breasts, for at least an hour a day. Eventually you’ll feel your breast turn back to stone.”

          She took the proffered USB key and went to her meditation spot. For many days she listened to the wonderful music, which raised her spirits even as her hope of a cure faded.

          Then, one day, a song came on which transported her spirit on wings of song (Yes. Really.) and she felt her breast harden into lovely igneous rock again. She was fulfilled and happy and went home (after another enjoyable stay in the Bay Area to show off her new look). One more person transformed by the power of art.

          Oh, the song? Why, what else but “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”?

      2. Don’t be sorry, that’s a compliment – Getting To The Groan is how all the men in my family were raised.

  1. You have a knack for thoroughly misleading setups, and the ‘below the fold’ feature is a help to your comic timing….

  2. Well the Bay Area weather may well be lovely most of the time, but you might want to keep that Times around over the weekend because looking at the weather report, you’re gonna need a sponge for your feet again.

  3. I recognize the setup now, so I managed to brace myself for the pain in time.

    On the other hand, what is it with men and shoes? 🙂

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