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One of those days...
It didn’t bother him at first, that is, until it poked him with every step he took. Randolph hated taking off his shoes during a walk, balance and embarrassment being the reason. He couldn’t very well sit on the ground and rarely was there anything meaningful to lean on to take off the shoe and examine.
But the pain wasn’t going away.
He started noticing the prick less than a block from his home. He figured it would go away with time or migrate somewhere else in the shoe, perhaps to one of the rounded edges inside the shoe.
Now he was starting to favor it with a limp.
Park Maintenance had installed benches along their new walking path and one of the benches was only 50 yards away. He could make it but it wouldn’t look pretty doing it.
Finally, he plopped himself on the bench and took off his left shoe and examined the insides, tapping the heel twice to empty the shoe.
Randolph brushed his fingertips in the area where the pain was coming from.
He turned the shoe over and immediately saw the issue: a 1-inch roofing tack was stuck in the bottom of his shoe right at the pain point. He hadn’t felt it with his fingertips because he wasn’t pressing down with his full weight. And of course, nothing would have fallen out when he tapped it. He then took off his sock and examined his foot. The nail was just long enough to prick the skin but not long enough to puncture it.
He took the nail out, put everything back on, and resumed his walk. Within 30 steps he felt something else in his shoe.
“Not again!” he said out loud.
This time he took a seat on the edge of the sidewalk and pulled off his shoes, and checked the bottom first.
He rapped the heel of the shoe against his hand and poured it out
Two tiny pebbles dropped into his hand, something he had picked up the last time he took his shoe off. He rapped the heel of the shoe again and a penny dropped down.
“What? How’d that get there?” he said out loud.
Randolph turned around to see how far away from home he had walked.
Once more Randolph rapped the heel against his hand. Nothing dropped down. Confident everything was out of his shoe, he wiped the bottom of his sock for any excess debris, shoved his foot back into his shoe, and continued on his walk.
With no more nails, pebbles, or grains of sand to impede his walk, Rudolph looked back towards home one last time, desperately searching for an excuse to return to his non-exercise activities. Any excuse would have worked with two false starts already on the books.