Steps.

I have had a life-changing experience this week. It’s a small thing, but sometimes a very small thing can have a very large impact on one’s life. This change, this modification, has significantly improved my comfort and added a most pronounced spring to my step.

For the first time in 45 years, I have altered the way I lace up my shoes.

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If you look closely, you’ll notice that my laces go straight across, instead of the criss-cross method I’ve used since mastering the art of tying my shoes during my first months of kindergarten.

When I learned to tie my shoes, there was something about the bunny going around the tree and jumping through a hoop to make his own hoop. I never understood the logistics of all this imagery, and quite frankly, I was labeled as “possibly development disabled” because I entered kindergarten without being able to tie my shoes. I didn’t color within the lines, either and I also committed the cardinal sin of “jamming” my homework into my book bag. I just think Mrs. Mosher (“no child is any different from any other child”) didn’t know what to do with me since I obviously didn’t fit into her stereotypical expectations. Clearly, I was too fabulous.

I’m digressing.

Once I mastered tying my shoes during those first shaky weeks of kindergarten, I celebrated by watching a girl named Tanya cut off her bangs with the construction paper scissors whilst I ate paste.

Calm down, I’m joking and still digressing. I’m joking about the paste. Tanya did cut her hair and I have no idea why she did that.

Actually, once I mastered tying my shoes I chalked that up to a philosophy that I still obey to this day: “set it and forget it.” The thing is, I like my shoes tied really tight and with that whole criss-cross method that I learned back in 1973, I ended up with pain in the top of my feet that has gotten worse over the years. I’m not cutting off my circulation or anything, because my doctor was overly enthusiastic about the fact that you can take and SEE my pulse in my feet (it’s not gross or anything), but at the end of the day in my dress shoes or my pilot shoes (pictured above), I’ll feel the pain associated with the dent in the top of my foot from my tightly tied shoes.

Enter the Internet. Now, I’m not much of a foot guy (though years ago I did know a guy who loved my boots to the point of really loving my boots) but as I grow older I try to find a sophisticated sense of style and apparently there’s a better way to tie one’s shoes.

In fact, this site features 41 ways to lace up shoes, and after careful analysis, I have settled in on “straight bar” lacing.

My shoes are still tight but I no longer have the high amount of pressure pressing down on the top of my foot. This morning I was able to walk six miles before work and my feet never complained once about my shoes being too tight. They felt very comfortable and very solid.

This makes me a happy man.

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