I have a confession to make. It’s been bothering me a long time, in fact my whole life. The reality is, I don’t tie my shoes the way everyone else does.
It started off innocently enough. When I was little, my father taught me how to tie my shoes the “right” way, and I did it. Then being the very clever father that he was, he said, but here’s another way to tie them. Instead of looping them at the end, winding the laces around and then pulling them tight, I was taught to stick a loop from just one side through a half knot, then stick the aglet, the end of the other side through the knot to finish it off. The only problem came if the laces were worn and there weren’t any aglets on the ends of the laces.
I ended up liking the second method more, and stuck with it. That became a problem, because the world used the first method. When it went to school, I was laughed at because I didn’t tie my shoes the other way, and pretty soon forgot the other way of tying my shoes. When I got to high school, a group of guys made a big deal out of it, humiliating me. But I stubbornly refused to change the way I tied my shoes. This was the way I had always done it. It worked for me, and I was happy with it. But for some reason, other people couldn’t live with me tying my shoes differently.
Looking back on it today, it seems like an insignificant detail, something to laugh about. But there was a time when I was embarrassed because I was different, strange, simply because I tied my shoes differently. Today I still tie them the way I learned sixty years ago.
It’s too bad we can’t celebrate our differences rather than punishing each other for them.