Tuesday March 18, 2003 11:57 PM
New Shoelaces

I tied my shoes today for the first time in several months.

I can't tell you how many months exactly, but more than two I'm sure.

I've got this pair of steel toe brogans that are my favorite shoes. I bought them a couple of years ago to replace a previous pair of steel toe brogans that had been my favorite shoes. I got the previous pair free from the first real job I had out of college. I only worked there a couple of weeks, but they let me keep the shoes.

Anyway, the pair I have now have seen better days. I guess I'm kind of rough on shoes because I get a pair and that I really like and I wear them all the time. Seriously, if I'm wearing shoes, I am wearing these- unless it's Sunday morning and I'm wearing my second pair shoes which are a little dressier and more appropriate for church.

Wearing a single pair of shoes all the time can take it's toll on them, let me tell you. It was last October when we were driving to Dallas to visit Ruth's brother John that I felt a sharp pain in the heel of my left foot. Evidently, some sort of steel shank support had worn its way through the sole liner of one of these favored brogans and was poking me in the heel all the time.

It was really starting to bug me just riding along getting poked in the foot (Ruth was driving at the time) so I got out my pocket knife, took off my shoe, unlaced it and cut through the sole liner and performed a steel-shank-ectomy on the left member of my favorite pair of shoes. I then re-laced and replaced the left shoe and for a long time after that I walked in comfort.

Eventually, the same thing happened to the right shoe. I didn't begin to feel it as soon though, and I have a number of socks with small holes in the middle of the heel as a result. Once I did notice the situation, I remedied it in the same fashion, but since I was not wearing either one of the shoes at the time, and since the original laces were rather frayed at the ends I decided, after several frustratingly unsuccessful attempts, that it wasn't worth the effort to re-lace the shoes.

For a while I used them only around the house. They became my steel toe house-slippers and I employed instead either a pair of old army boots I have, or the pair of $200 insulated, steel toe electrician's work boots with external teflon toe and heel armor for outside applications. Both of these, though, required a great deal of time and effort to lace even when using only about three quarters of the eyelets as was my custom, so I gravitated back to the brogans for everyday wear despite the fact that they had no laces.

Yeah, I guess I may have made a somewhat unorthodox fashion statement going around in a pair of work shoes which obviously (I would always put the tongue under the cuffs of my jeans, but they would always flop out) had no laces whatsoever, but then I've been making unorthodox fashion statements for a very long time now. Nobody ever said anything and the shoes were even more comfortable without laces than they had been before. I wore them everywhere without a thought.

Last Friday night though, we were at a certain big-box retail establishment and while Ruth was looking through the infant clearance aisle for a gift for the child some friends of ours delivered the other day, I spied the shoelace rack. Isaiah and I went over to investigate.

"What are you looking at, Daddo?"


"Are you going to get some?"

"I think so..."

"What for? Your shoes?"

"Yup, for my shoes."

I settled on a set of 45 inch (114 cm) black hiker style laces made by the Stay-Ty corporation. They seemed to be the right length and were similar in appearance to the ones they would be replacing. And they were less than a buck and a half so I got'em.

Last night I finally got around to asking Ruth what had happened to the bag they were in and once I had located them, I laced up my trusty old shoes. Whenever I lace shoes I feel it's important to make each side the same length- I don't like lopsided shoelaces. So I carefully ran the laces through the eyelets making sure after each cross that each side was equal in length.

When the laces were in place, I carefully tested them out.I put on the shoes and pulled the laces snug- yes, they were going to work out just fine. This morning when I put on my shoes and actually tied them, everything felt right. Not too tight, not too loose. The new laces held up just fine throughout the day. They were true to their brand name and stayed tied.

I don't know what possessed me all of a sudden after months of lacelessness to start tying my shoes again. I think it's just the right thing for me at this point in my life. We'll see how it turns out.