Blessed be the ties that bind

Ed Rood

Ah, life’s big challenges! I still remember one of my first big challenges. This was back many, many years ago when I was receiving private tutorage before being allowed to start school. There were certain things that had to be taught at home – such as learning how to tie my own shoelaces.

Mom took each and every challenge seriously, especially this one. She knew I had no problem making my fingers work when it came to untying things, but she evidently had serious doubts about my coordination when it came to tying them.

I can still see Mom patiently working with me attempting to walk me through the intricacies of forming the perfect bowknot. A week or so later and after a multitude of granny knots I finally succeeded in tying my own shoes. My first endeavors were not pretty but they kept my shoes from falling off and that was all that was required.

Ed Rood

Time marched on and my shoe tying expertise gradually improved. Regular shoes, athletic shoes, army boots, dress shoes ... they all had laces – sometimes too many – but I tied them anyway. What choice did I have? Bend over and do the job. It was the same drill at least a couple of times a day. As a teenager, of course, I often would leave the laces loose and sloppy.

Then came the 1980s. Marty McFly, teenage hero of “Back to the Future Part II,” gave me the first hope of getting away from this boring tying routine. His self-tying shoes were just what I had always dreamed of. How could we have put a man on the moon and still be tying our own shoes? The time had come to throw the shoe laces away.

Well, nothing much happened for the next 30 years. We continued tying our shoes and that was about the size of it. I had about given up until an announcement rocked my world. Nike proclaimed they plan to do away with shoelaces. Their “futuristic sneakers” featured power- operated laces. All one need do is step into them, press a button and the laces tighten. Press another button and the laces relax making the shoes easy to remove.

Finally, a shoe company with worldwide clout has heard the pleas from the huddled masses and is doing something about shoelace tying torture. It was great news. Of course, I being a bit of a doubting Thomas have a few reservations. 

First, how much will these self-tying shoes cost? I understand most Nikes cost more than my first car.

Secondly, if I ever can actually afford to acquire a pair will I still be physically able to bend over and see if they are tied or not? 

Yep, life’s challenges are always a big challenge ... no matter what age we might be.

Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times.