Look ma, I stuck them myself.

We tend to think of modern technologies as electronic gadgets. Any contraption with a digital clock that continually flashes 00:00 because we don't know how to set it, is modern. The definition may not be completely clear-cut, but we all know what we're talking about - a refrigerator with a built-in connection to the internet is definitely modern. But what about Velcro?

It's amazing how such a simple technology can have such a major effect on a time-worn rite of passage. Kindergartners know that the ability to tie their shoes is a sign of their readiness to make the move from the kindergarten to the first grade. In order to prove this readiness they diligently make loops with their shoelaces and again and again try to make those loops into knots. When they succeed, they're ready, and along with a new sense of pride they gain an extra measure of independence. But even here, our technologies tell us that age and coordination aren't really important. Psychologically, a three year old with velcro-flap shoes may not be ready for the independence that comes with being able to tie shoelaces, but physically, whether the adults like it or not, he or she is already almost out the door. And once again, nobody has to teach a child to close the velcro flaps.

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