posted by Matt W on April 11th, 2012

I recently hurt my ankle and am now sentenced to the peculiar hell of crutches. My injury went something like: old man…ear infection…dizzy…fell down steps… conducted full body inventory while laying on the floor…hurt ankle…rest of body OK…didn’t take proper care of ankle…reinjured (worse than original injury)…I’m an idiot…crutches. Ta da! Ten easy steps to hobbling around like Long John Silver.

First, I want to go on record as a horrible parent because I mocked my daughter for being such a wimp when she complained about her crutches. “Sweetie, I’m SORRY, I love you, and I’m a horrible father.” Next.

Second, I got this crutch-burn under my armpit that was driving me crazy so I took some cardboard and duct tape and created a shield to protect myself. When creating my armpit shield, my first thought was, “I’ll need some duct tape and some …?” Cardboard just happened to be close.  In thinking about it, I could probably just wrap duct tape around my body a few times. Note to self: See if just strips of duct tape under armpits works. (Editor’s note: Vertical strips of duct tape under arm seem to work best.) This leads me to today’s topic: Duct Tape, the world’s most versatile tool (it was originally duck tape because it repelled water like a duck).

Duct Tape is incredible. It is strong, sticky, and waterproof. If you want to hold something together for a short period of time, there’s almost nothing better. Ironically, about the only thing it’s not good at is holding together duct work. Another interesting observation about duct tape is women rarely use it. How come there are so few Ms. MacGyvers? (I think I have another blog topic.)

I have secured my kid’s Band-Aids, once made my dog a collar when his broke (I keep it in my trunk), held together the handle on an old lawnmower, bound school books, held together my son’s laptop, kept son’s shin guards on, held batteries in TV remote, patched holes in golf bags, held up the hem on kid’s clothes, and so on. My list goes on forever. There are books on how to make cool “stuff” with the tape. My nieces and nephews love the sticky stuff, making all sorts of wallets and clothes with it.

My all time favorite use of duct tape was in college when Joe A and I spent the night at a buddy of ours. The friend had just gotten a cute little cat. We were in the house for all of 5 minutes and Joe A’s eyes and nose were running like a fountain. Joe A is highly allergic to cats. I suggested a hotel and Joe A said, “There must be something we can do that doesn’t cost any money.” I suggested one of those dust filters that sick people wear all the time. Our friend offers, “I have one of those.” He hurriedly left the room and comes back a couple of minutes later admitting, “I don’t’ have one, but I have these.” He handed Joe A. a coffee filter and duct tape. Joe A. shrugs and starts taping. He wore the homemade filtration system all night. All of the mucus and tears went away. Now many of you will say this is a story of college-aged stupidity, but I say this is a story of college-aged ingenuity (and more specifically a college-aged budget), made possible because those folks at Johnson and Johnson brought us duck tape back in WWII.

So in conclusion we have, I am a clumsy, bad father, but I’m really resourceful with duct tape. So I promise the next time my daughter hurts herself and needs crutches, I will not mock her, but rather be there for her, duct tape in hand.

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