Day eleven of the ‘Blogging from A-Z Challenge’  and I have picked on one subject that merits its own blog – trying to tie your laces.  I thought my tie was bad enough but I’m starting to master that yet laces are in their own league.

There’s a problem in that recently I’ve learnt that there are two ways to tie your laces.  Apparently the simple bow has a weak form and a strong form.  If you have been suffering from your laces coming undone and have had to tie a double knot then you’ve been using the weak form.

This is what I used to do.  I’d start with a simple slip-knot and with my right hand make a loop in the lace.  I’d then take the other lace in my left hand, wrap the lace around the loop and make the other loop by pulling it through the gap that was made.  I’d then use both hands to pull it all tight.  So good so far yet this if you remember is wrong.

To tie the strong form of the knot I’d start as I would normally but rather than wrapping the lace around the front of the loop in my right hand, I would take it round the opposite way, which is around the back of the loop.  It takes some getting used to and it works.  I don’t tie a double knot yet my laces have come undone far less often.  That is until I tried using my left hand.

Mastering the strong form of the knot was hard enough but trying to get it right with my left hand has proven to be very difficult indeed.  I’m getting there though and it is safe to leave the house.  I do look forward to wearing loafers.

Back to the book by AJ Jacobs called ‘The year of living biblically’ which started all this.  In it the author tries to live his life taking every word of the bible literally.  It seems that bible and religion cover everything including laces.  In the book Jacobs is talking to Mr Berkowitz.  It’s a long story and very worth the read.

‘Speaking of shoes, Mr Berkowitz tells me that you don’t just put them on any old way.  There’s a proper procedure.  You put on your right shoe.  Then your left shoe.  Then you tie your left shoe.  Then you go back and tie your right shoe.’

‘Why that order? Mr Berkowitz doesn’t know.  That’s what the rabbis tell us.  I don’t have to think about it.  It saves me a lot of thinking.  It allows me to concentrate on more important things.’

I think that Mr Berkowitz and the rabbis have got it wrong.  Ritualising the simple activities we do during the day may be a way of allowing us to not think about them yet we should ask ourselves how much of our lives have we ritualised.  How much of what we do has been set up so that we don’t have to think?  What are we doing with all this additional free thinking time?

Forcing yourself to change your habits makes you realise how much of what you do is automated and if you do this with your shoes are you actually doing this with more important things such as your relationships?

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