duct tape

bob - ann arbor-, Michigan
Entered on March 4, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe in duct tape.

It sits there; wound tightly, silver side out, on the seat of the pickup truck next to me. Duct tape is ready to help out, lend a hand, no matter what the problem.

It’s just a layer of cloth, with glue on one side and silver Mylar on the other. There are few things that can’t be fixed, at least temporarily, with duct tape. That’s why duct tape accompanied astronauts to the moon. When Apollo 13 was in trouble, duct tape got them through the crisis, as we all saw from watching the movie.

Storm windows won’t stay in place? Duct tape the edges, and you’re good till spring. Wires drooping in the basement? A strip off the silver roll will hold them out of harm’s way. Leaking pipes? A duct tape patch will probably at least slow down the leak till the plumber comes.

Then there are vicarious uses that are just fun to think about, too. Ever have dinner in a nice restaurant ruined by a screaming child? Just think what a 6 inch strip of duct tape applied in the right place could do. You wouldn’t really do that, of course, would you?

America is the only country that could have invented duct tape. We’re a duct tape society. Fix the problem and move on, no standing on tradition when there’s a problem to solve. By the time the duct tape wears off, the problem may not even be worth thinking about, much less fixing.

Duct tape is still one product where America has undisputed superiority. Aspiring duct tapes from other countries just can’t get it right. Their fabric is too strong to tear, or too weak for the job. The glue is too tacky, sticking prematurely or not strong enough, failing the minute you turn away. And the Mylar coating, the signature side of duct tape, is just a little off, too shiny or too dark, to say “duct tape” with authority.

Sometimes the spelling is even wrong, labeling the roll “duck” tape, as though migrating waterfowl had anything to do with it. It’s “duct” tape, the good blue collar name it was born with.

Colored duct tape? Let’s not go there. Colored duct tape, in cheerful red, white, blue or green, just seems, sort of, well, French. You know, giving the impression of something permanent when in reality, it’s just duct tape. Duct tape may match the color of your fender, but that doesn’t mean it’s a permanent repair. Besides, colored duct tape usually comes in such small rolls that it’s mostly for decoration, not real jobs like leaking water pipes, or broken windows.

I’m sure your father said that, “a job worth doing is worth doing well.” So did mine. But sometimes there are jobs that just have to be put off for a while, and that’s why there’s duct tape.

Duct tape lets us get on with the important things in life.