Tie One On

At the age of 22, Josh still had Velcro shoes.

It was not through any particular desire for efficiency, or out of laziness, that he held on to these relics of childhood. Rather, Josh had a simple, debilitating problem with knots.

As a theoretical construct, a knot was simple. Put string around thing. Pass string around self. Do again. Knot complete. As a practical construct, however, Josh was thrown off by the complexity of viewpoints and recreation. The knot for a shoelace had been demonstrated to him on a biannual basis, usually at Thanksgiving and on his birthday in April. He watched, intent, and thought he understood the basics.

But when he had to perform the action himself, Josh could not visualize the steps from his own perspective. Even when tying someone else’s shoe, though he had just watched that person do so themselves, he couldn’t figure out the difference between other hands moving and his own.

No one in his family could understand Josh’s problem; his father and older sister were both engineers, and his younger brother was a physicist and Scouting advocate. But Josh remained finger-tied.

So he carried on with his life, buying Velcro closures and loafers, hiding his shame as best he could, never volunteering to help tie things, demurring when asked, small amounts of stress slowly building inside of him.


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