Welcome, readers.  Today is another example of a post gone wrong.

To set up the story, we need to go back in time, back to a brisk morning many years ago in Queens, New York, when Neilochka was born.  After a few months of baby shoes, Neil’s mother bought him a pair of baby sneakers, and he was smitten with the smell and feel of this canvas footwear.  For years and years, whenever you looked at his feet, he was wearing a pair of sneakers… or nothing at all.

The year is now 2007.  For the last year and half, Neil has been wearing a size eleven New Balance 713.  He has been wearing these sneakers practically every single day.  They’re not the best sneakers, but he has grown attached to them. 

On Tuesday, Sophia and Neil are flying to New York to spend some time with Neil’s mother, Elaine, a good-natured woman with gray hair, known for her hearty laugh and her excellent brisket.   Sophia and Neil will be in New York for 2 1/2 weeks.  Whenever they travel to New York in the winter, there is always a bit of tension before they go.  Neil wants to know why Sophia needs to take so much luggage.  Sophia gets worried about being cold in the street, but hot in the over-heated New York stores and subways.  Remember, they are both wimpy Californians.  It is an “effort” for them to walk a block to the supermarket, especially if there is a forecast for a drizzle. Scary!

As Neil and Sophia packed their gloves and hats and scarfs and turtlenecks, Sophia looked at Neil’s New Balance 713s and said, “Those sneakers look like shit.”

“No, they don’t.” Neil said in protest.  “They’re just a little lived-in.”

“The white shoelaces are all black, and they are shredded.”

That was true.

“Simple.” said Neil “I’ll go to the 99 Cent Only Store and buy some new shoelaces.”

Of he went to the 99 Cent Store.  He could have gone to Macy’s or Target, like Sophia told him to, or countless other stores, but as a man who loves a bargain, why pay more than 99 cents for white shoelaces?

Neil quickly found the shoelaces in aisle five of the 99 cent store, next to the polyester dress socks.  There were two displays of “Athletic” shoelaces.   One display consisted of packages of white athletic shoelaces.  The other, of the same “Coachman” brand,  was identical, except for the addition of a special “bonus pack.”  Along with the pair of white shoelaces, this package included ONE wrapped black shoelace.

I’ve already mentioned that Neil liked a bargain.  Why would he buy the first package, when he could get the “bonus pack” for free?

As he drove home, he started to chuckle.  Something struck him as very very funny about these black shoelaces.  He laughed as hard as he did when he found the typo in the New Yorker.  When Sophia met him at the door, he was still laughing.

“What’s so funny?” she asked.

“I have a great blog post for today.  Look at this.” he said.  He opened the 99 Cent Store bag and showed her the shoelace package.  “They give you a pair of white shoelaces, and then they throw in an extra bonus of a black shoelace.  But think about it.  What the hell are you supposed to do with ONE black shoelace?  Just tie one shoe?  Ha Ha Ha!”


Neil explained how he went back and bought another package of the shoelaces, just so he could have a pair of black shoelaces.  Still laughing, he ran upstairs and hunched over the keyboard, pounding out his latest humor masterpiece, wondering how many women will fantasize about having sex with him after they read his latest hilarious post about the bizarre package with one black shoelace.

Sophia entered.

“Whatever it is, not now.” Neil said.  “I’m in the groove.”

“Maybe you should ungroove for a second because I opened the package — and you were wrong.   It isn’t a pair of white shoelaces and one black shoelace.  It is two pairs of very poor quality white shoelaces and one pair of equally bad black shoelaces.  There are TWO black shoelaces, not one.  You’re such a dumbbell”.

“Oh.”  he said, Neil’s spirit falling like a weight.  “So that means my whole blog post is dead.”

“Well,  you could lie.”

“Lie?  On a blog?  Never?  Would Dooce lie?  Of course not!”

“Well then, I guess you need to come up with something else.”

Neil struggled for a while, but couldn’t come up with anything quite as good as the hilarious tale of the single black shoelace.  He procrastinated and found some busywork.  Neil even decided to lace up his New Balance 713s with the new white shoelaces.   As you can see, not only were the 99 cent shoelaces of poor quality, but Neil screwed up in another way — they were shoelaces for CHILDREN, and barely laced half of the sneaker.


Neil didn’t really find this turn of events very funny.  In fact, he thought it was quite sad.  Since he bought two packages of the shoelaces, he now had six pairs of useless shoelaces, four pairs of white and two pairs of black ones.  Still, a blog post is a blog post, and this is what he was stuck with.