Don’t Judge Me!

Yesterday, I walked a mile in my shoes. Today I will judge myself harshly without guilt.

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We have all heard “Don’t judge me until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes” many times, and I want to really dig into this mantra and try to determine what it’s creator intended to convey. On the surface, it would seem to be indicating that the person was sick and tired (another one to investigate) of being judged by others who don’t understand his/her circumstances. If we dig a little deeper, we may find some clues that could lead us in a completely different direction.

According to, “Walk a mile in my shoes” is regarded as part of an American English idiom without an identified author. The complete phrase is usually given as, “Don’t judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes.”


This quote has inspired lyrics and appeared in songs by Elvis Presley, Bryan Ferry and Joe South. Fans of the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” may remember this quote from the character named Scout, who said, “Atticus said you never really knew a man until you stood in his shoes and walked around in them.” The saying often substitutes moccasins for shoes, giving rise to the idea that it has a Native American origin.


Ok, but why one mile? Is there some sort of a magical formula at work in the universe where something happens when, after you have stolen someone’s shoes, and hit the one mile marker, you suddenly understand the behavior patterns of the victim?

What if I only walk nine tenths of a mile? What is it about that last tenth of a mile that opens up this supposed window to the person’s soul? If it is on a steady incline, do you learn more than if you walk on a level surface l? If it’s downhill, do you have to go further?


These are good questions. And if this is really a legitimate way to gain understanding of another human being, why is it not being used by law enforcement? It should be easy to get inside the criminal mind using this system.


Marriage counseling would be a breeze. No need to even go. All you need to do is wear each other’s shoes and go for a walk. The only real problem with this theory is that it would work well for the woman, who probably doesn’t even need it (we’re kind of simple minded), and if the guy hits the one mile marker, his head is likely to explode.


We’re not meant to understand the woman. It can’t be done. We may think we “get” her from time to time, but just when we think we’re there, BAM, not even close. That was so five minutes ago. Also, its difficult for her to even wear most of her shoes, and she’s had years of practice. We wouldn’t stand a chance.


But today I stand in judgment of myself because I walked a mile in my shoes yesterday. No one is more harsh on me than me. This is going to be a long day. Ugh.

See you tomorrow.

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