I’m 50 years old and I just learned how to tie my shoes. Wait, let me add a word to that last sentence so I don’t sound quite so moronic: I’m 50 years old and I just learned how to tie my shoes correctly.

Turns out I’ve been doing it wrong all these years, ever since I had to march up to the front of the kindergarten class at St. Anne’s in Jersey City, NJ and show my teacher, Miss Williams, that I knew how to tie a shoelace by demonstrating my proficiency on a Fisher-Price “Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe” toy.

shoe toy

I remember only a few things about my kindergarten experience, but being called up to show my shoe-tying skills is one of them, along with these other nuggets:

  1. Miss Williams mispronounced my name as “Da-MAIN” the entire year.
  2. The twins who sat at my table (a boy and a girl) kept telling me to correct her, but I was so shy I never said a word.
  3. Miss Williams’ perfume was rather pungent.
  4. The entire class was only allowed to take pre-scheduled group bathroom breaks… and by the time the final bell rang each day I really, really, really had to pee, so I would race to our family’s apartment 3 blocks away and pound on the door buzzer with one hand while pinching my… well, you know… with the other, waking my father, who worked the graveyard shift at the post office.

(While doing my typical exhaustive “research” for this post, I just found out that St. Anne’s School closed in 2012. Sad.)

Hmm, where was I before that detour down Memory Lane? Oh yeah, shoe tying. For years I’ve been frustrated by my shoes coming untied all the time, blaming the newfangled round shoelaces for the problem. (I miss my Pro-Keds with the flat laces… those laces would break all the time, but they stayed tied.) However, the real problem was my tying method. Here’s a three-minute TEDTalk that will change your world.

While we’re at it, let’s cut down the number of paper towels we use when drying our hands in public bathrooms: