Finding the Silver Lining When You Step in It…Literally

A Dirty Sole Can Be Good For The Soul

women's legs in pink tights wearing muddy wellies in mud

Well, this should be a fun story to illustrate. Hmmm…

Sometimes, you have to work just a little bit harder to look on the sunny side of life. Like, y’know, when you step into a giant pool of vomit on your way to the gym.

Hey, we’ve all been there, right? RIGHT? No? Okay, so just me then.

Before I explain why I heartily recommend treading in recycled stomach contents before your next workout—in the unlikely event that the benefits do not prove immediately obvious—allow me to step back (as I wish I had earlier today) and set the scene.

There I was, grinning into a luminous blue sky, the few wispy white clouds that dared to loiter being swept away by a crisp autumnal breeze. I now realize, of course, that this was Mother Nature conspiring to screw with me. Never, EVER take your eyes off the sidewalk in London, people. Unless, of course, you’re keeping watch on a low-flying pigeon who looks like he might be carrying, shall we say, a heavy load.

Suddenly, beneath my right foot, I felt a strange, slippery viscosity where there should have been solid pavement. Please, please, let it be a melted ice cream cone, I pleaded silently. And futilely. Because, of course, it wasn’t an ice cream cone. It was, as near as I can tell, ten-day-old tuna fish and mackerel discouraged from the bloated belly of a dying, dyspeptic whale.

Admittedly, my first instinct was not precisely along the lines of “yippee.” Expletives may have escaped my lips. Children and dogs may have fled, whimpering in fear. The earth may have rocked, or at least gone briefly wobbly-bobbly, as I vented my fury.

But in the fullness of time (say, about three hours), I’ve polished up the silver lining as thoroughly as I plan to polish my shoes when I’m done writing this. So, here we go.


Your immediate reaction—after the afore-mentioned cursing and gagging—will be to find a patch of grass to wipe your shoes on. If you’re walking in a suburban neighbourhood, no problem; easy peasy. In a more developed urban environment, if you’re looking for some high quality grass, and not just any old anaemic weed (no, this isn’t a euphemism), you might walk a good ten minutes out of your way. Whoo hoo! You’re now that much closer to your recommended 10,000 steps a day!


Despite your best efforts to clean your shoes—and they have been considerable, not to say desperate—they will still reek like Saturday night in a Soho alley after Satan’s stag do. So, why is this a good thing?

First of all, you’ll hardly be able to smell the sock-and-jockstrap-tinged fug that hangs over the gym, as pungent as a wet dog sprawled on a damp wool blanket. And I mean a really big dog, one of those ones you could saddle up and ride like a pony, not a fashionable armpit pooch that hitches a ride in your handbag. So…yeah. That kind of oversized stink.

Yorkshire terrier looking at camera and sitting on stone steps

No, not THIS kind of dog. This little Yorkie smells like flowers, don’t you, Fluffy Wuffy? Yes, who’s a sweet boy? YOU are!

Secondly, while you can’t smell your fellow gym rats quite as vividly as usual today, they can sure as heck smell you. Exploit this to your advantage by doing some casual leg kicks next to the (currently occupied) weight machine that you want to use, giving those soiled shoes a thorough airing. Notice how quickly the apparatus is vacated by the muscled man in the tiny tank top, who is now furtively sniffing his own armpits in the corner. You’ll complete your workout in record time.


Finally, let’s not overlook a potential weight loss windfall. If you haven’t already upchucked your own cookies in the aftermath of what we might politely call “the great Technicolor yawn catastrophe,” then at least you can rest assured you will have zero appetite for the rest of the day.

So, thank you Anonymous Vomiter. Thank you from the bottom of my, er, sole. (No, that’s not a typo). I will try to ensure that my glass remains at least half-full, even when your stomach is decidedly, absolutely, unequivocally empty.

whisky on the rocks, literally

A wee (as in, er, SMALL) glass of whisky on the rocks. Is it half empty or half full? I’ve never been very good at math.

Sole-sucking Technicolor yawn…or Glastonbury Music Festival mud? Meh. Same difference.

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