I'd been given to understand, by somebody, that leaving a shoe upside down is bad luck. A diligent believer in the latest position I've heard on any given subject, I accordingly began taking pains to make sure my shoes were always stowed upright.

I had chance to mention this ward of evil luck to a friend of mine, a Colombian. She found it passing strange. In her country, she informed me, just the opposite is true, for scorpions are fond of tight, dark places, and a right-side-up shoe makes for a cozy lurking place.

Well, at least her habitual practice is based on something tangible. Being as I live in Brooklyn, New York, I don't particularly fear scorpions. But now I have two conflicting rules to unshoe by.... I leave my luck to chance these days, simply tossing my sneakers into the closet, letting them land as they may.