Here I am 64 years old and I don’t know how to tie a shoe. I never learned. It’s not that I never had the opportunity to learn. I remember some occupational therapist trying hard to teach me how to tie a shoe back when I was a teenager. But I never learned.
It wasn’t that tying shoes was too complex of a concept for me to grasp. I just resisted learning. While the OT was demonstrating the proper shoe-tying technique, I remember saying to myself, “Fuck it, I’ll just get slip-ons.”
I think the reason I refused to learn was that the OT told me that learning to tie my own shoe was an essential component of my “rehabilitation.” In other words, if I was going to have any chance of making it in the big bad world as an adult, I’d have to physically do as many things as possible for myself, such as tying my shoes.
But I guess back then, even though I was just a dumb kid, something inside me didn’t like the idea of independent shoe tying ability being considered a legitimate predictor of my future success. I’d gotten this far without tying my own shoes, with my mother and other people doing it for me. And it seemed a lot more efficient that way. It would probably take about 10 minutes or more for me to put on my own shoes because of my crippledness, whereas it took only about a minute for someone else to do it for me. That would leave me about nine minutes more time and energy each day to spend doing more important things. That’s nearly 55 hours a year. It really adds up.
So I probably decided subconsciously to roll the dice and gamble that I could get by without ever putting on my own shoes. And here I am 50 years later, not having wasted at least 2,750 hours trying to put on my own shoes, which is more than seven years. My shoes are put on my feet by the members of my pit crew, which is what I call the people I hire to come to my home and do stuff like that for me. Their wages are paid through public funds like Medicaid.
I suppose I’m supposed to be embarrassed that I don’t know how to tie a shoe. But actually, I’m kind of proud of it. It makes me a role model, in way. I show future cripplets that there’s more than one way to get your shoes tied, so to speak.I’m content to go to my grave never knowing how to tie my shoes. In fact, that’s my goal.
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