Dear Annie: Is there a right order and a wrong order for putting on one's shoes and socks? I find that on most days, I put on both socks and then both shoes. The other day, I put on one sock and one shoe and then the other sock and other shoe. I remember a scene on the old TV show "All in the Family" in which Archie Bunker and Meathead were getting ready to go out. Archie noticed that Meathead had put on one sock and one shoe, and Archie asked him what he was doing. Why didn't he put on both socks first and then the shoes? "I like to take care of one foot at a time," Meathead says. It was really funny. (The clip is available on YouTube, titled "Archie Bunker — A Sock And A Sock And A Shoe And A Shoe!")
But I am wondering whether any polling company has ever done a survey of how people put on their shoes and socks. — Curious in Klamath Falls
Dear Curious: Don't know of any survey, but I suspect that most people dress in the order Archie does. In my view, as long as each shoe ends up on its correct foot, you're doing all right. However, if any of my readers feel strongly about the one-sock-one-shoe method, I'd love to hear from you.
Dear Annie: I've wanted to write to you for a long time. I want to tell you my story. I am a 52-year-old man. I have never married and have never even been in a serious relationship. In my late teens, I was put in the position of being caretaker to two family members who were unable to take care of themselves.
When I was in my 20s, I made two attempts at looking for love, and both times ended with my getting hurt very badly. After that, I realized I had too much baggage to ever appeal to a woman, so I stopped looking and settled in to my role as family caretaker. The years — and the decades — went by.
About four years ago, both family members whom I was caring for died within only a few months of each other, and I am alone. I have thought about looking for love again, but I don't even know how to go about it anymore.
So I am resigned to being alone for the rest of my life. I have been in and out of therapy over the years and been on and off antidepressants. Nothing has really helped. I have gotten involved with a couple of community groups over the years but haven't really made any close friends.
I guess I'm not really writing for advice; it's too late for that. I am writing to tell people to try not to be so judgmental about the socially incompetent guy over there who often keeps to himself. You don't know his story, and he might be really nice if you took the time to get to know him. — Lonesome
Dear Lonesome: I am so sorry for the loss of your loved ones. Bless you for taking care of them for so long. I'm sure they appreciated it. But the fact is that it's not too late for advice unless you want it to be. So I'm giving you some anyway.
You are only 52 years old. You still have decades of life that can be full of love if you so choose. Don't look for someone to blame for your current state. Instead, focus on the present and what you can do now. Sign up for online dating sites, and don't let the sting of one rejection — or even 10 — paralyze you. There is a woman who will love the way you're "different."
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