Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The first post that conforms to my randomly selected blog title!

Okay, so, I'm a smart guy, right?


Yeah, don't all chime in at once.

Anyway, so, I was walking earlier. I can do that. I have legs and feet and muscles and enough coordination to not fall over frequently. It's pretty impressive if you're, y'know, less than a year old.

So, once upon a time, when I was a kid, I learned to tie my shoes. None of this velcro crap. [Okay, I might have had a pair of velcro shoes at some point, but most of the time, not so much.] You cross the laces, make the little loop, go around it with the other side, push it through, yank -- poof, tied shoes! Magic!

We (to be honest, I am making an assumption here and have not done extensive research on the topic) all pretty much tie our shoes the same way, right? There's the bow, and then there's the double-knotted bow. The first one looks 'pretty,' the second one looks horrible but works better.

There are approximately seven hundred million thousand dozen ways to make a knot with a shoelace. Ask anyone who's ever spent an hour cursing at their shoelaces and picking at them with a fork.

Why, then, do we all tie our shoes this way, if it really just kind of sucks at being what it is supposed to be -- a mechanism for keeping your shoe on until you want it off?

My walking today resulted, as it does on many occasions, in a familiar clickity noise when one foot hit the floor. A small percentage of the time, this sound is my shoelace clicking against my shoe, and that's okay. The rest of the time, this sound is my shoelace, which has come totally untied for no apparent reason, flopping against the floor as I walk. I've dealt with this I-don't-know-how-many times. I just bend over, re-tie the shoe the same (barely functional) way that I always do, and continue to walk.

This is modified behavior from some years back, when I used to have this problem frequently and resolved it by simply double-knotting my bows so they wouldn't come untied. People would look at my shoelaces and actually comment on the double knot.

Person, speaking in the exact same tone of voice they would use if they just noticed me absentmindedly sucking my thumb or buying a case of beer and a box of Disney Princess Band-Aids, which just so happens to be in bold: 'You double knot your shoelaces?'

In response, I do exactly what I do in response to nearly everything that anyone says to or about me: I shrug. They forget what they were talking about and go back to eating their waffle or telling that story about the dog and the car battery. All is well.

Except for that now I'm thinking actively about something I never bothered to spend any time thinking about. Why is it bad that I double knot my shoelaces? They stay on that way and they don't come untied. Sure, sometimes they're a little more hassle to remove than if I don't double knot them, but isn't it better to have them stay on when you have to run away from an angry bear than to trip over the laces because you didn't get your shoes securely tied? Do people judge me for this? People actually judge people on their shoelace tying preferences? Jesus, what is wrong with this world?

So, I fixed that by just not double-knotting my shoelaces when I thought anyone would ever look. Which was all the time. Back to the good ol' shoelace tying that everyone else does.

Except, y'know, then the bow unties itself and you get clickity sounds once a day or so.

So, today, while re-tying my shoe for the second time that day, I thought, 'Gee. Maybe I'm actually doing something wrong here. I mean, I don't know how I can be tying my shoes wrong, that seems like something I'd have figured out by now, but uhh.. well, no one but me will laugh at me for looking it up on the Internet...'

So, I google. I get "how to tie" typed in, and Google cheerfully suggests "how to tie a tie,"  probably knowing full well that I am a grown man who might need a refresher on his Windsor or Four In Hand technique. No. "... your shoes." Somewhere, a computer in a rack of servers fulfilled my simple request, and also probably laughed at me from Very Far Away.

Much to my dismay, I immediately find this. And I watch it. And I discover that, in fact, this dude is in his fifties and just figured out how to tie his shoes correctly. I tested my muscle-memory shoe-tying technique while watching his amusing little demonstration. Turns out, I'm already tying my shoes the right way. (Whew!)

So, my question is this.

We have had shoes with laces in wide circulation for at least two-hundred-some-odd years. In those centuries, we have invented all sorts of things, such as microcomputers, supersonic jets, and the ShamWow.

Why the hell hasn't anyone figured out how to tie a damned shoe?


  1. I double knot with impunity. If people don't like it they can kindly eat my feet.

  2. I am so completely lazy that I have velcro shoes. Sure - you can laugh.. but when I had shoelaces, I would never untie them - because I was lazy. Then, one day, my physician referred me to a podiatrist who told me I had fallen arches. Besides giving me custom made orthotics (ooooh so comfy!), he suggested that I wear better shoes. Which happened to be rather expensive. When I slip my feets into shoes that are still tied, I end up breaking down the backs of them - you know, the part that holds the heel in place.

    So - because I have to wear expensive shoes, I wear expensive shoes with velcro. In this scenario, I do not break the backs of the shoes because it takes less time to velcro/unvelcro than it does to tie/untie.


  3. My girlfriend pointed out that there is a website about different ways to tie shoes, but the knot diagrams make me dizzy just looking at them, despite that I realize that they are not that complex.

    I'm still in "tie my shoes the normal way and let them come untied sometimes, then complain about it to the entire Internet when it happens" mode. ;)

    I don't think that they make Fluevogs with velcro. Or if they do, probably they're silly ones that I wouldn't want to wear.

  4. I don't think anyone has ever noticed my double knots... Jim swears by flat laces, says they don't come untied. In theater we use elastic, tie it once elastic it on and off, double knot of course.