Previously, I offered the thesis that if you're only going to learn to tie one knot, it should be the bowline: it's simple, can be easily untied, and is incredibly versatile for all sorts of situations.
And all that is true. But, it's not the "knot" I employ most often. Because the reality is, most of us don't handle rope on a daily basis. We do, however, in the age of smartphones and podcasts and the entire history of recorded music available at your fingertips, engage with another long, stringy thing that needs to be dealt with on the regular: your headphones.
Or ear buds. Or ear phones. Or whatever you call those wired transducers that deliver all that sweet, sweet audio to your brain. And because you take them with your everywhere, they regularly get knotted and tangled up in your pocket or bag.
This is completely unnecessary. Because there's a five-second "knot" that can completely eliminate this problem, and it doesn't take any longer than other storage methods. So, now, I present to you, the actual most useful knot in the world.
Begin by making the ASL "I love you" sign with one hand. Place the plug end of your headphones under your middle and ring fingers.
With your other hand, start wrapping the cord around your pointed fingers, crossing in the middle after each wrap. So, the cord will wrap around each finger from the same direction. It's a figure 8, not a loop.
Continue wrapping until you reach the ear bud parts. It doesn't need to be tight; you're just using your fingers as a form to create each loop.
Then, pinch the cables where they connect in the center, and remove the whole thing from your fingers.
Then, just wrap the plug end around the center a few times to make a simple bow.
Seriously, it works and they never get tangled. This what it looks like after four hours in my jeans pocket. I guess I could lie and tell you that, but I'm not :) This is the first pic I took in this series.
It takes maybe two seconds longer than just rolling them up in a loop, and once you commit it to muscle memory, it becomes second nature. Moving on.