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I got ready for work quickly one morning because I was running late. After I got to my office, I spent about an hour working and walking around.

I went to the bathroom and looked down — I had on two different shoes: a boot and an open-toed shoe. One was a wedge; one was a heel. One zipped on the back; one zipped on the side.

I started laughing, and people in the office who could hear me through the bathroom door wondered if I’d lost my mind.

I came out and asked a co-worker if she noticed anything wrong with the way I looked. She started at my head, worked her way down to my feet and burst out laughing.

Then I asked another co-worker, and he immediately looked at my feet and noticed.

As I was driving home to change one shoe, I remembered I needed to go to my pharmacy to pick up a prescription. I considered running that errand first to see if anyone would notice my shoes. It’s like in the movie Shawshank Redemption, when Andy Dufresne wore the warden’s shoes back into the prison. Red said, “I mean, really, how often do you look at a man’s shoes?”

A co-worker said he wore different shoes to play golf — a dress shoe and a golf shoe with spikes – and didn’t notice till halfway through the round.

Still another co-worker said she took a contra-dance workshop, and the woman leading it wore mismatched shoes on purpose. When someone questioned her, the woman said one of the shoes was slick and good for pivoting, but she couldn’t have two like that, or she might slip.

When I called a woman to do a telephone interview shortly after my own shoe discovery, she asked how I was. I told her about my shoes. She said, “Just tell them it’s crazy shoe day; my granddaughters do that all the time at school.”

She said a former co-worker of hers had bunions, and when she’d find comfortable shoes, she’d buy them in multiple colors. She’d come to work after dressing in the dark, and she’d have one black and one brown, and she’d call her husband, who was retired, and ask him to bring a matching shoe.

I texted a picture of my feet with mismatched shoes to my husband, who said, “It’s probably not as bad as the Wally Erwin one-slip-on-one-sneaker incident in high school.”

My husband recalled that his high school classmate came to school wearing a lace-up sneaker and a slip-on loafer. You really have to be half asleep to do that.

In college, I remember looking down at a girl who was wearing two different-colored tennis shoes. I think she’d had a lot of fun the night before.

Oddly enough, the week before my mistake, my husband accidentally wore different black shoes to teach at UCA. When he sent me a photo, I had to look closely to see the difference. The stitching was different on the shoes, but it wasn’t nearly as obvious as mine, and he said no one noticed.

When I realized I had on different shoes, I also texted a photo to my daughter-in-law, who replied:

“LOL — old people.”

Until I show up to work with one bare foot, I’m not going to worry.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

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