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A Study of Techniques For Removing Snow From Shoes

Look at it. The white horror.

Look at it. The white horror.

January 22nd, 2014. Columbia University.

I continue my observation of the students at Columbia University. The weather is unusually cold today and snow covers the extensive walkways except where some sort of magical melting powder has been spread; this causes the students to rush from class to class with twice the speed they usually do. Even their greetings as they meet along the way have been reduced to “Hi, nice to see you, see you later.”

The most peculiar behavior I have observed among this odd species is that they don’t seem to have agreed on an efficient method of removing snow from their shoes. Here I have named and described some of their most common techniques.

  • The Ballerina: Taps only the toes of  boots delicately, no more than three times each.
  • The Doesn’t Give A Fuck: Walks normally, slips on the first uncarpeted step.
  • The Elephant: Loudly stomps the entire way up the carpet.
  • The ’50s Dance: Twists and shakes boots around for a minimum of 15 seconds, looks like is enjoying it too.
  • The Cliffhanger: Scrapes soles of boots on a step until most of the snow is off; without proper handrail support often leads to a hilarious 3/4 backflip.
  • The Michael Jackson: Does the moonwalk.
  • The I Give A Fuck: A variation of the ’50s dance but as quickly/subtly as possible so no one notices, usually has the same end result as the Doesn’t Give A Fuck.
  • The Off-Campus Trekker: Comes in dressed head to toe in arctic gear, proceeds to melt all over the entryway.
  • The Midwesterner: Comes in wearing shorts and a light jacket, just walks straight in pitying the mere mortals who actually feel cold. Snow just melts right off their heroic boots.
  • The Melodramatist: Combines all of the above, but while grunting loudly like snow is literally made of bloodsucking leeches.

All of these leave the mats at building doors very soggy, and none of them are able to reliably prevent slipping. I expect that the elusive SEAS students may have devised a functional method to solve this issue.

Columbia’s biggest safety hazard via Shutterstock

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