other shoe

Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Fri May 7 17:51:00 UTC 1999

Fred Shapiro <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU> writes:

%My own research turns up "other shoe may never drop" in Mathematics of
%Computation 20: 174 (1966).  Still earlier, there was an article in the
%April 1963 issue of National Civic Review (p. 189) entitled "Awaiting the
%Other Shoe."

%As for the phrase's derivation, I believe it comes from a folk-story in
%which someone can't fall asleep because he or she heard the noise of one
%shoe dropping to the floor beside the bed one floor above them, but never
%heard the other shoe dropping.

That's the story I remember, too. And I also remember a Charles Addams cartoon
in the New Yorker in which the couple* are preparing for bed, and the man,
looking anxiously toward the ceiling, says: "That's two. Now I'll never get to
sleep till he drops the other one." I'm sure it's in either the New Yorker album
or the Addams album that I have at home; it may be dated there, and quite
possibly before '63.

*The happily ghoulish married couple whose family figured in so many of his
drawings and in the Addams Family TV series and movies. -- Ghod, I miss him.

-- Mark

PS: I submitted this message this morning, and just got it back with the
following message.  I don't THINK I submitted it twice. Those percent signs are
my attempt to defeat what seems to be happening. The listserver never objected
to my style of quoting before. Has something changed? Or is my mail server
sending double copies?

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