A tribute to duct tape on Dad’s Day
In honor of Father's Day, I share with you some little-known facts about a product that has brought meaning and fulfillment to fathers everywhere: duct tape. Most people think duct tape was invented in 1942 for use during World War II. Its true history goes back much further.
» Duct tape, originally called duck tape, was invented by Noah after a couple of ducks went crazy and terrorized other animals on the ark. Noah ripped off a strip of cloth from the hem of his gown, slathered it with tar pitch and stuck the offending ducks to a ceiling rafter. He later found many uses for his "duck tape," like sealing boat leaks and taping up the mouths of the laughing hyenas, who, after months of incessant, inane laughter, really got on his nerves.
» 2570 B.C.: Great Pyramid of Giza completed. The Secret of the Pyramids? Duck tape.
» 200 B.C.: Pre-Peruvians use duck tape to lay out the "Nazca lines" that can only be seen by visiting space aliens. Unfortunately, the lines inadvertently convey a really offensive joke about two aliens who walk into a bar and encounter an earthling with a duck on his head.
» 201 B.C.: Aliens fly over Peru, are not amused and never return to Earth.
» A.D. 380: Duck tape nicknamed "the gladiator's friend" because not only can it be used to repair fighting spears and chain mail, but when wrapped around the hands and feet sticky side out, it allows enterprising gladiators to scamper up walls and escape from the Coliseum.
» A.D. 1008: Maya priests invent first calendar of amazing accuracy and complexity.
» A.D. 1009: Maya priests invent first "Maya Girls Gone Wild" calendar and hang it on temple walls with duck tape.
» A.D. 1258: Mongols overrun Baghdad, burning it to the ground and killing 10,000 citizens. They fail to find WPBD (weapons of pretty bad destruction) but find plans to use duck tape to create huge sticky traps to stop invaders.
» A.D. 1431: Joan of Arc stuck to stake with duck tape and burned. Ouch.
» A.D. 1492: Christopher Columbus crashes into America on way to India. Reportedly says, "Didn't see THAT coming!" Repairs boats with duck tape, sails home and reports to queen, "They moved India."
» A.D. 1776: American colonists sign Declaration of Independence. A drunken Samuel Adams rips original document with quill pen trying to make his signature "bigger than Hancock's." He is admonished by Thomas Jefferson to "lay off the beer, Adams," who then pieces the document back together with duck tape.
» A.D. 1804: Lewis & Clark, during a "rough patch" in Oregon, survive by eating duck tape. Clark reports, "It tastes nothing like duck."
» A.D. 1823: Boston plumber Wilber Dinglemeister finally invents a "duct." But when it leaks he orders his assistant to "hand me that roll of sticky stuff over there." To which his aide says, "You mean the duck tape?" "No, idiot. The DUCT tape." Thereby starting nearly 200 years of argument over what that sticky, gray tape is called but enriching fathers' lives everywhere.
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
at any book retailer. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org