Today I was walking down the street and a lady said to me, “Honey, tie your shoelaces. You’re going to trip.” I stopped, looked abashed, and tied my shoelaces — but only to be polite. Let me tell you something. I’m thirty years old. For reasons I can’t quite explain, my shoelaces are untied a lot. Most of the time, even. It’s been that way all of my life. Maybe it has something to do with my poor fine motor skills, or maybe I’m just weirdly bad at tying shoelaces. Whatever. The point is, in all of the thirty years that I’ve been strolling around this earth, my shoelaces flopping about my feet, I have never tripped on my shoelaces. Not once. Not ever.
When was the last time you tripped on your shoelaces? I bet it’s been at least ten years, ever since you really mastered the art of walking. Frankly, I have no idea how one would even go about tripping on one’s shoelaces. When I trip, it’s usually on something that’s sticking up from the ground, like a rock or something. Shoelaces don’t stick up from the ground! Sometimes my shoelaces slide underneath my feet, but I just step on them and move on. The only way I can legitimately imagine tripping on your own shoelaces is if you stepped on your shoelace with your other, opposite foot, but even that is a stretch. Why would you do that? Just walk normally. In my mind, the main undone-shoelace danger is not tripping; it’s getting your shoelace stuck underneath someone else’s foot and being unable to move. Getting your shoelace stuck underneath someone’s foot is not dangerous, though. It’s only embarrassing. This is mainly because when you point out to people that they’re standing on your shoelace, they always look at you condescendingly and say, “Be careful. You should tie your shoelaces. You don’t want to trip!”
I think it’s time we call the older generation out on this hypocrisy. Undone shoelaces do not pose a significant danger to our health and safety. “Tie your shoelaces” is the “Wait a half an hour before going swimming” of the new millennium. The next person who tells me to tie my shoelaces is going to get an earful from me. If my decision not to pause in the middle of the day to retie my shoelaces offends your fashion sensibility, so be it. But don’t try and dress your aesthetic objections up in faux-altruistic safety concerns. It’s time to tell the truth about untied shoelaces, which is: you are probably not going to trip on them. Enough is enough!