December 13, 2017

Duct Tape!

WOW! This has to be the ultimate GUY THING! On the scale of stuff you gotta have, duct tape has to rate about a three or four, just below the TV remote, the camo wallpaper and (maybe) the custom reloading press, with your own brass nameplate just below the Budweiser logo.

Have you ever thought of what in the world we’d do without duct tape? (Here, I’m using the ancient literary ploy of “What if there were no…?”) Well, just think about it.

How many of us guys would be stuck in the middle of nowhere, driving a car or truck with missing parts, bailing water out of a boat, freezing from the winter wind coming in through a broken window, driving without a tail light cover, having your glasses fall off, having your pants fall down, unable to find the hitch pin clip for your trailer, wondering how to hold the toolbox closed, left with ripped overalls in the middle of the bean field, looking for the spare trunk key or wondering how to hold the tailgate closed when the latch broke–without duct tape?

More than a few, I’d venture to guess! Strangely enough, according to one of the ultimate authorities, my heating and air-conditioning repairman, duct tape is almost never used to seal up ducts. However, one exception is mentioned later. Look for it.

HOW DUCT TAPE IS MADE? In my never ending exhaustive research dedicated to bringing you guys the best and most accurate information, I undertook extensive research in duct tape manufacture. You’ll be surprised at what I learned. As you probably suspect, most duct tape is mass produced in factories and distributed to hardware stores, home centers, etc. However, as is the case with so many items in this luxury conscious society, a market has developed for upscale duct tapes aimed at the affluent consumer.

These high-end tapes are hand made by duct tape elves in small workshops predominantly in the south. Fabric for these tapes is hand woven on small looms at a painfully slow rate, with great attention to uniformity and quality. After careful inspection, adhesive is applied in what is perhaps the most fascinating step of the production process.

It’s done by specially trained elves called “Goo-Goos.” The Goo-Goos make the adhesive by boiling down sap harvested from “sticky trees.” These trees are fairly common, but it takes a trained eye to spot a good one. Next time you’re out in the woods, take a careful look at the trees. Any tree that seems to have a lot of sticks on it qualifies as a sticky tree.

But I digress. After a lengthy period of boiling and seasoning, the adhesive is ready for application. First the woven tape fabric is unrolled on long spreading tables. The Goo Goo elves then move rapidly up and down the tables on roller blades, applying the adhesive to the fabric with small paint rollers. These little guys move very fast and, as you might imagine, not all of the adhesive makes its way onto the tape.

As a result, the Goo-Goo elves, themselves, become coated with a layer of adhesive which, I assume, is where they get their name. A cardinal rule of the duct tape business states that you should never shake hands with a Goo-Goo elf unless you want a friend for life.

After the adhesive has set, the tapes are rolled up on cardboard cores and packaged for shipping. Most tapes made in this way are marketed through specialty shops and duct tape boutiques.

Typical outlets include Duct Tapes “R” Us, The Sharper Tapage, L.L. Tape, Bloomingtapes, and Saks Fifth Tapenue. Among the myriad designer tapes you can get at these specialty merchants comprise Polo Tape Lauren, Tommy Hiltaper, Gloria Vandertape, Estee Taper, Christian Ditape, and a recent one prized by kids, Sponge Bob Square Tape.

One of the most expensive tapes I encountered in my research is the only tape I’ve ever heard of that is actually used for its original purpose. It’s called G.O.P. TAPE and is made from specially processed elephant hide and rare aged and blended adhesives, but is horribly expensive and is used almost exclusively for sealing up ducts in the custom built homes of rich Republicans.

Another fascinating area of duct tape lore centers on this material’s strange ability to last and last. What guy hasn’t sealed something with duct tape and then put it in the shed or in the back of the garage where it sat forgotten for years.¬†When it’s eventually discovered, it’s often next to impossible to figure out what the thing is, it has deteriorated so badly. But, one thing is for sure, that’s duct tape holding it together.

Much the same has been observed about duct tape repairs left out in the weather for a long time. Sure, the fabric backing may dry up and blow away, but the adhesive, hardened by sun and time will never be destroyed. All attempts to scrape it off, dissolve it, burn it, peel it or rub it off will meet with failure. In fact, scientists have speculated that the only things likely to survive a nuclear holocaust, would be the cockroach and duct tape adhesive. One other tidbit before I go; duct tape can be a really meaningful gift for someone you really want to impress. Giving your girlfriend a roll of duct tape demonstrates that you intend to stick by her through thick or thin.

A gaily-wrapped roll of tape presented to your boss is a tasteful way of telling him to “Stick it!”

On your anniversary, your wife will be impressed when you present her with a roll of duct tape to remind her that she’s stuck with you.

And for that guy you know who needs to be knocked down a peg or two, a roll of custom tape with his portrait on it will say, loud and clear, that everybody knows he’s stuck on himself.

Enjoy your tape.

See ya around,

BUCK

 

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