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The great mysteries in life

Pretty much all through my public education experience, I detested gym class, recess, physical activity in general. Imagine the clutziest, most awkward, skinny girl you can imagine (don't forget the glasses and braces!), and you're pretty close to me.


The memories!


Anyway, in junior high, I had, like all my classmates, gym class three times a week. The best time to have gym class was, of course, first period. Having it first period meant I could sleep until 7:40, roll out of bed, pull on my gym clothes, and walk to school which was all of 80 yards from my back door.

After gym class, I would take my shower (and I was the only girl who actually showered after gym class, complete with soap, shampoo and a towel that actually had to dry something), and head to class.

Maximum sleep. Efficient schedule.

One particular day, I had my gym shoes in hand and wandered over to the gym. I went to tie my shoes, they were like the early Nike shoes: dark blue with a white shwoosh, when I noticed something in the laces. Puzzled, I loosened the laces to look better.

Inside the tongue, between the laces was some crap I couldn't identify. It was light in color, maybe tan, soft, relatively odorless. I had absolutely no idea what the stuff was, but I couldn't tie my shoes with it in there, so I asked my teacher if I could go clean my shoes, and left to do so.

Oh, darn, I missed the first part of class while I washed out my shoes.

And I had to wash them out fully. Once I opened the laces, I realized the stuff was all over them, and even down to the toes. What the heck was this stuff? It was all over these shoes.

Puzzled, I went to gym class, wet shoes and all.

Fast forward 12+ years.

My mother, my little brother and I are sitting around talking about who knows what. At some point, we started talking about major illnesses and the like. Which, of course, turns the conversation to nausea and vomitting. Who knows why, that's just what we were talking about.

My little brother then turned to me and said, "Yeah, like that time I threw up into your gym shoes."


Blink. Blink.

"You what?"

"Yeah, your blue Nikes. I tried to clean it up. Not sure how well I did though."

Mom was looking back and forth between the two of us.

"That was vomit?"

"Huh? I thought you knew."

"Oh, gross!"

For over a decade I had absolutely no idea what the heck that stuff was in my shoes. I cleaned it up and went on with life, only to find out many, many years later what the heck it was.

I had run in my brother's vomit.