Dad used to always fix things around the house. I have vivid memories of him kneeling on the ground, sweating profusely while his arms were immersed in a huge hole where some leak from the pool pipe ran from our house out to the pool pump. He had a remarkable way of muttering and cursing unintelligible things while working on the problems around the house, yard and pool. If you didn't know any better you would swear that the author of A Christmas Story stole this classic scene from our family when Ralphie's dad would clang, bang and mutter like the Tasmanian devil while trying to fix the furnace in the depths of their basement. While clad in his bathing suit and v-neck Hanes white undershirt ( a very attractive attire I might add), my Dad could fix anything. I have no idea when he switched from using real fix-it items to duct tape but somehow it happened and our house became adorned with this silvery-vinyl-fabric-reinforced-incredibly-tacky (not to mention sticky)-multi-purpose tape. Emphasis on tacky and multi-purpose. This stuff can fix anything and Dad started using it on EVERYTHING. Thank heavens it was after I moved out and started a family of my own before Dad fell prey to his new obsession. What is it with men and duct tape? I just don't get it.
The first hints of the silvery adhesive appeared in the interior of the house on minor fix-it problems. For instance, Dad would use it to reinforce the hammer handle or to fix the battery door of our portable phone so that the batteries would stop popping out. These uses were practical and relatively harmless but then he stepped it up a notch and started using it on things like the toilet or the ceramic tiled wall in the bathroom where the tile was not sticking to the grout anymore. Pretty! It also appeared on the porch door handle. This was a puzzle to me because I had to de-tape and de-string (this was also a favorite fix-it item) the handle when we were trying to get the house ready for the realtor. After unraveling yards and yards of string , I would tackle the incredibly durable and amazingly ginormous amount of duct tape only to discover that the handle was not really broken?! Huh???? The worst was when it started appearing outside of the house. Someone had decided to pull a prank on the neighborhood and bat down all of the mailboxes. No problem! We'll use duct tape to put it back on the post! That bloody mailbox never did come off the post again! He was even using it on Mom's wheelchair. For some reason, her side brakes lost the little grip pads so Dad in his ever-so ingenious jerry-rigging way used an old screwdriver handle to replace the pad and guess what he used to adhere it to the brake? Yup, duct tape! I don't know which looked worse, the tape or the unsightly screwdriver handle. Oy Vay.
Okay, okay, so I've saved the best for last. It's the van. It's all over it. What is he thinking? I don't know. All I know is that stuff is holding the van together. It's on the front and back bumpers, the mirrors (yes, both side mirrors), and it is used to cover up any and all of the minor fender bender boo boos that are ALL OVER THE PLACE! What can I say? It is hysterical and my kids get as huge kick out of it. I just wish I could be there when he drops it off for state inspection. You just know those guys are having the time of their life when they get to drive it into the garage and inspect it up close. Can you imagine what Click and Clack, the Tappett brothers, would do with that one on their weekly radio show? They would laugh and snort forever! Wow, it's just that bad!
Ah well, as I have said before, memories are a good thing and so I prefer to remember my Dad as the Mr. Fix-it who used real fix-it items. He really did fix things........didn't he?