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I might have been in my fourth decade before I figured out that I had been taught to tie my shoes incorrectly. Pro-tip: It’s a square knot, not a granny knot.

It’s still a bit of a mental catch to tie the laces correctly, even though I’ve been doing it right for all of this millennium.

It’s one of the blessings of the modern age that shoelaces don’t break anymore (except Five Ten). However, one would have thought that shoemakers would not use the laces that won’t hold a knot. You know the ones, the slick 2.5 or 3mm accessory cord that is just too smooth to hold a regular shoelace knot, granny or square.

But I’ve purchased three pairs of shoes in the last couple of months that have the laces that won’t hold a regular knot.

You’d think that someone at La Sportive, Arcteryx, or Merrel would walk around in the greater-than-a-c-note shoes that they are selling to climbers – people who are pretty serious about their shoes – and figure out that smooth accessory cord shoelaces are not the way to go. Yeah, they might not break. But most shoelaces don’t break. I have shoes that go through multiple resoles yet the I pull the laces out when they are done and throw them in a drawer just-in-case but they’ll never come out again. Because shoelaces don’t break.

They will, however, get replaced because they won’t hold a damn knot. That’ll drive me to this real quick.

Of course, I know how to tie a shoelace knot that will never come undone. But I shouldn’t have to.

I never got in a race with Danielle to see who could tie their laces faster. Nor a typing race on either phone or computer – I’m fast, but a man’s got to know his limitations. I can’t beat a child who’s never known an IBM Selectric, or, the modern equivalent of rulers-across-knuckles, a manual Remington. Damn the teacher who thought we should do a semester on the manual typewriters “because I had to.” Damn her eyes. It should have been obvious to her even then that manual typewriters were buggy whips. It was just mean, and it slowed my typing for years.

I’d argue that the most useful thing I learnt in high school was how to touchtype, followed by algebra, and being suspicious of anyone being nice to me.