How My Life Seems to be Held Together by Duck Tape

And yes…that’s what it really is…duck tape. That’s what it became known as when Johnson & Johnson brought it out during World War 2 for soldiers to waterproof their ammo cans. They said it shed moisture “like water off the back of a duck.” Thus…duck tape. After the war, a new version was sold specifically for heating ducts, which of course, threw the entire world into confusion, but now you know and you can finally sleep soundly tonight.

It’s become a household gotta-be-there kind of thing. You can tell when someone doesn’t have duck tape in their home. As soon as you walk in the door. Its absence is a tangible thing that sits a the heart of the building like a woman waiting for her man to come back from the war. That sad.

Duck tape held my car together for over a year once upon a time a couple of years ago. Someone (I’m guessing…in a truck) backed into my car and left the mall parking lot without leaving a note. Not even to say, “Sorry bud. If it’s any consulation…I broke a tail light.”

The front driver’s side of my car was squashed in and the mirror was dangling like the arm of a zombie after meeting the arm-wrestler dead guy. It clittered and scraped all the way home, but it didn’t fall off and the electronics still worked.

At the time, I was saving my money for six-pack of beer so I couldn’t get the thing fixed. So, what’s a Biff with a broken car to do?

Duck tape.

I fitted the mirror as best I could and wrapped it tightly in duck tape, even covering the huge whole in the top. I tested it about as hard as a moderately strong wind. It held. I wrapped some more around it and then taped up the side of the front bumper where it was attached to the fender. Didn’t like the thought of driving down the highway and running over my own front bumper. I mimicked a New Brunswick pothole, thereby pissing off a few neighbours, especially the sound effects. It held. I thought, “Not bad, Biff. This is going to work.”

A couple of months later, the mirror fell off and dangled for a few hundred miles on the way back from a trip to Toronto. It dangled and made obscene noises until I remembered that I had duck tape under my seat. Quick stop, quick fix, on the road again.

I had leaky plumbing in my kitchen many years ago. Strange things were crawling into it and using it as a path from the cabinet (which I never opened because of the strange things) right up to my sink. These were things I didn’t want to see. They were harmless but strange. Ever try washing dishes with your eyes closed?

After loosing some of my best dishes and almost all my glasses I decided to bring in the heavy guns. Duck tape. Eyes tightly closed, I tore off strip after strip of the tape, reached in and wrapped the pipe as strange things breathed on my hands. For the rest of my tenancy, not one strange thing got into my sink and I never had to open that cabinet again.

I had a chandelier in my living room. One night, it dropped about a foot out off the ceiling. There didn’t seem to be any reason for this. Maybe it was trying to escape or get closer to the floor. Maybe it didn’t want to be a chandelier anymore. Maybe it wanted to be a chair. Whatever. There was loose bare wiring. The stuff that fires and electrocutions are made of. I couldn’t let this go on. So who ya gonna call?

“Duck tape, Biff?” said the fox.

Nailed it, fox. Everything went well to begin with. Got the wires all wrapped up without setting the place on fire or electrocuting myself but, just as I was pushing the base of the chandelier back up to the ceiling where I planned to duck tape it in place, the stool I was standing on decided to go somewhere else and I ended up swinging on the chandelier which, because of duck tape, didn’t send me crashing to the floor.

Duck tape.

I went down the Matapedia River with my friend Nanook of the Nashwaak one year. We were using his wooden Chestnut canoe. Beautiful canoe, but wooden. We met a rock that ate canoes for breakfast. It didn’t eat the canoe, or us, but it took a big nasty bite out of the bottom of the canoe and water started leaking in. We were doomed. We didn’t have enough beer to handle this situation. But, after we stopped screaming, “We’re doomed! We’re doomed! We don’t have enough beer for this!” Nanook remembered that he had duck tape.

I mean, this stuff kept moisture out of ammo cans. During a war. Quick stop, quick fix, couple of beers, on the river again. Lasted all the way down the Matapedia and onto the Restiqouche.

Once upon a time, I had a broken heart. I duck-taped it. I wouldn’t recommend this. You cough up duck tape balls. It’s embarrassing when you’re in public trying to act normal.

I’ve used duck tape to stop the flow of blood from cuts. I wrapped it around my chest once when I broke at least two ribs after getting into a drunken brawl with gravity while I was on my bike. Going down a hill. A steep hill. With lots of gravity around it. Listen, both of you…don’t ever do that.

Unless you have lots of duck tape.

Cabin

Without duck tape, I would never have captured this picture on the Restigouche River.

Taken with a little  red Kodak 35mm point and shoot.

Coming in the near future (maybe) (probably not): How WD-40 Saved Humanity From Itself. (But…maybe)

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