Sermons in stones. I don't have a stone to hand and at 07.05 the garden, where there are plenty, isn't going to lure me out. How about shoe laces?
Practical and symbolic. A Shakespearean director given to dressing up characters in modern clothes could probably make a case for turning Malvolio's garters into shoe laces. With my best wishes. I have never found a single laugh in the humiliation scenes of Twelfth Night. Laces might work.
They go back a long way, laces, but I refuse to Google. If Ye Olde movies are to be believed many a Mediaeval bum would have been exposed to public view had laces been uninvented. Their simplicity and usefulness presaged the zip and they were the subject of a horror story that terrified my youth. Gurkhas in WWI (probably anachronistically) slithered up to soldiers on guard-duty and fingered the lacing on their boots before deciding to eviscerate or not. The Germans, it seemed, did it differently. A crossed-over pattern meant you lost your tripes.
Laces define old age. Nancy Banks-Smith, ex-Guardian TV critic, said once you need to sit down to put on your shoes it’s time to start withdrawing from life. I agree. Recently I discovered a laces flaw. They become shiny and thus prone to untie. Which means re-tying on the pavement, risking being bumped by a short-sighted pedestrian. An ignoble accident.
I learnt to tie a bow at an early age and I wasn't alone. There's more to it than nimble fingers. Anyone who lets go of the formed loop during tying is ignorant of presdigitation and would have been rejected by Bletchley Park. I'm guessing.
I wore casuals at work then retired into trainers. Knotting laces early in the morning is a burden and a physical link with Toryism.