I am constantly retying my shoes (like twenty times a day, at least). Synthetic shoelaces have only made the problem worse. Whenever I complain, some advice-giver invariably says, “Why don’t you use a double knot?”
“Because double knots suck, that’s why!” For one, it takes twice as long to tie it. Secondly, I have a short attention span… What was I talking about??? Oh yeah, double knots. They cut off circulation and make your shoes a nightmare to take off. (It’s a 50-50 chance anyway, whether I untie my shoes or just step on the back and pry them off — the commonly used self-inflicted flat-tire method of taking your shoes off. Try that with a double knot.)
All that is true and all that is bullshit! The real reason I avoid the double knot and suffer through endless retying of my shoes is that I have an escalator-phobia. (What?) A long time ago in my youth, I heard about a kid whose shoelaces got stuck in an escalator — he couldn’t kick himself out, because he tied a double knot. (I realize that this incident may be an urban myth, but I heard he lost a foot! I’m not willing to risk it.)
At work last week, we were about to record a promo for the news, when I felt the familiar floppy whip against my ankles. I stopped, tied my shoes, and bitched about my shoelaces always coming undone. The much-beloved Bay Area TV news anchor and all-around nice-guy, Allen Martin, quipped, “You should try a double knot.” I just looked at him with a semi-evil eye. (I like Allen so I squashed my usual rant.)
Then, something happened that changed my life. Michelle, the 23 year-old production assistant said, “You’re tying your shoes backward.”
“What?” I said. “I have been tying my shoes for almost forty years and have never heard anyone ever say anything about a right and wrong way to tie my shoes.”
“Yeah,” she said, unfazed by my snarky tone. “If you loop it the other way, it won’t come untied as much.”
I looked at Allen, whose curious face indicated that he too was out of the loop on this one. “What do you mean?” I said to her — although it probably came out of my mouth sounding more like Gary Coleman saying, “What’chu talkin bout Willis?”
“After you make the loop,” she said, “wrap the lace around the other way.” Then, she walked me though it. It felt weird, mostly because I had been tying my shoes one-way my entire life. (I felt like a recovering stroke victim relearning the simplest of childhood tasks.) I pulled and prodded to see if the lace would come loose. I couldn’t really tell if it worked, but I committed myself to giving it a try over the next few days. (It did take a while to get used to the new method. I hadn’t felt this awkward tying my shoes since I was a wee-little boy.)
I’ll be damned! On Thursday, October 11th 2012 — at 43 years, 5 months, and 15 days old — I went an entire day without retying my shoes. I couldn’t believe it!
I went online to see if this were some miracle fix, a secret passed on through generations, like the Knights of Templar cautiously guarding the secrets of Christ. But no, IT’S ALL OVER THE PLACE! There’s a video that even explains the whole thing. It’s called a granny knot versus a reefer knot. Apparently, looping it one way pulls the knot apart. When done the other way, motion actually tightens it.
I was outraged! Did my parents know about this? My sisters? My kindergarden teacher Mrs. Tinsley? Why wasn’t I told? This is bullshit! Pop and I need to have one of those, “Come to Jesus talks”. I want answers!
The moral of the story is, you can teach an old dog new tricks. I feel like a new man. One of the banes of my existence is gone! Praise the Lord! And, thank you Michelle.