Never Laugh at a Shoelace is the twenty-sixth chapter of Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger.


Mac forgets to bring something for show and tell, but the moment he realizes this, Miss Nogard calls on him. He thus uses his shoelace. He invents a story about an African man named Howard Speed, who was the fastest man in the world, and lived before shoelaces were invented. His shoes thus kept falling off when he ran, and he developed blisters, which often bled and had pus in them. Howard couldn't use Velcro, as Velcro trees only grow in Australia. Howard attempted to keep his shoes on by nailing his feet into his shoes, and then by gluing his feet into his shoes (with the drawback that he would peel off a layer of skin whenever he would take his shoes off, such as to take a bath). Mac further claims that Thomas Edison invented the shoelace, thus ending Howard's troubles with his shoes; however, with shoelaces being a new invention (at that time), Howard wasn't used to them, and when it appeared he was going to win a race, his shoelaces came undone, and he tripped and broke his nose, lost some teeth and got two black eyes.



  • Although Mac claims that Velcro grows in Australia, Velcro is actually a man-made product based on burdock burs, and thus Velcro doesn't grow in Australia or anywhere else.