From Tim Minchin's GroundHog Day Musical:

There will be mornings
You'll be utterly defeated by your laces

Days when every look looks condescending
Empty smiles in empty faces
The same old places this stunning stasis [...]

The only meanings both I and my dictionary know for laces are

  • the shoe laces you have to tie
  • the lace as in lace dress

However, I can't make any sense out of the verse with either of the two meanings.

The only thing I can imagine is that it's somewhat metaphorically referring to when you're so tired in the morning you can't tie your shoe laces and thus get "defeated" by them

  • 1
    You figured it out perfectly.
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 3, 2017 at 18:11
  • @DanBron Thanks for your help. Mind to expand that into an answer I can accept?
    – Narusan
    Sep 3, 2017 at 19:10
  • Why don't you write your own answer?
    – James K
    Sep 3, 2017 at 19:20
  • @JamesK I'm no native speaker. I came here to ask whether my interpretation was correct, and I need confirmation form a native speaker, not from myself. I could only write an answer in the fashion of as Dan Bron wrote in the comments, I'm right
    – Narusan
    Sep 3, 2017 at 19:22
  • 1
    Yes that's right. You can do that. You can cut your answer from the question and put it into the answer.
    – James K
    Sep 3, 2017 at 19:27

2 Answers 2


Laces refers to shoelaces in this song. Tying your shoelaces is commonly used as a stereotypical example of a very easy task.

So this lyric...

There will be mornings

You'll be utterly defeated by your laces

... is trying to say you will have mornings that are so bad, you won't be able to do the easiest of all tasks, tying your shoelaces. As you said, perhaps you are too tired, or perhaps you're just too frustrated and emotional so your fingers just won't move properly.

Examples of "can't even tie their shoelaces" used to imply a person is incapable:

"Well I know Goldman, like the back of my hand, and I have serious doubts that he can even tie his own shoelaces unaided..." (from The Gold Pig)

Jason Derulo on getting injured, "You can't do normal things, man... you can't tie your shoelaces... the simplest tasks were suddenly the hardest things in the world".

Article title: Tech-savvy kids can use an iPad but can't tie their own shoelaces

Article title: The FBI Accused Him of Terrorism [But] He Couldn't [Even] Tie His Shoes.


Agree it’s referring to mornings so difficult that it seems hard to tie your shoe laces. Shoe laces could also be used in a very desperate suicide attempt which gives the lyric another layer of meaning (you ain’t allowed to have them on a psych ward).

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