Saturday, August 31, 2013

Shoestrings ( written 0ct 2011)

Shoestrings Recently I put on a new pair of shoes for work. The shoes were standard black non-skid work shoes, the kind that you can buy at Wal-Mart. I do not own a pair of sneakers, and aside from dress shoes that I wear at church, typically only wear sandals, if anything. I prefer to be shoeless. However, work is a different story. So, after my old work shoes finally wore out, I finally put on these. One problem: the shoestrings were too long. I remember the same thing had happened with my old pair. The strings, if pulled straight reached almost to my knees. They would, perhaps, be more appropriate for boots. I like to wear my shoes somewhat loose. I do not lace the top holes, but this made the problem worse. I tried to tie a large knot, but since I tried not to tie it too tight, it came undone. Repeatedly. Every time I walked from my booth to the office, the shoelaces on at least one shoe came loose, making me feel like a clumsy elementary school boy who did not yet know how to tie a proper knot. So, I knew what I had to do. I had to buy some shorter laces. I did the same thing the last time, but the laces that I bought then were almost too short to stay tied—at least they did not flop on the ground like these long monstrosities. But the local store did not have a good selection. They had 24” dress shoestrings—the kind I bought before that were too small. They had 48” strings, but no 32” ones. I reluctantly bought the 48 inchers. The next day I went to lace them up. I typically keep the shoes in my car, since I prefer to be barefoot and therefore do not need them at home. Anyway, when I laced them up, the laces still appear too long. But they were better than what I had had before. I still have to re-tie them during the day—just not as much, and when they come undone, they do not drag on the ground. So that is o.k., especially since I only wear them about 8 hours a day. What do I make of shoestrings that are made too long? Is this a cultural fad? Surely, it is not about economy as more string means more cost. Yet the cost of string is low, no doubt, for if it were expensive, then the bare minimum would be used. I do not remember shoestrings being that long when I was younger. You know, “back in my day. . . we made shoe strings short, and we liked it.” So, I wonder is this a fad. Am I just an old man pining about the way life was simpler back then, when shoes came with laces that fit? Then I wonder if I am the only one. Maybe I’ve just been unlucky enough to buy the two pairs of shoes that came with too long laces. Or, maybe, because I do not like to wear shoes I therefore do not realize that long laces are not a big deal –that everyone has them, and that to have little laces on men’s shoes is a sign of weakness. “Real men have long shoestrings . . . you know, kind of a macho thing.” But how could that be? Wouldn’t you trip when playing ball or trying to run in long strings? Ah, maybe that is it! Maybe these shoes weren’t meant for activity. Maybe they were a symbol of a man who does not have to work manually—someone like a boss or executive who sits behind a desk and ponders the meaning of life, in long-stringed shoes. Perhaps then long-stringed shoes for men are like stiletto heels for women. A status symbol. A way to say see I am better than you because I can sit all day and work behind a desk, while you, in short-stringed shoes or, if female, in flats, can do the physical jobs that demand movement. Now, I am kind of disappointed that I shortened my shoestrings. Perhaps I should have thought it out before hand. . . Oh well? Those kinds of people can have their long-stringed shoes and high heels. I do not need a