Friday, May 2, 2014

How Tape is Made

I imagine the 3M company encourages employees to have babies. Post-It, too. And then those employees are encouraged to bring their babies to work. Maybe the companies even offer free child care for neighborhood infants and toddlers. The kids all play in rooms where long strips of plastic, or little squares of paper, stream past them--maybe on the ceiling--all day. The plastic enters the room as plastic, and emerges as tape. The papers are gathered on the way out and stacked into perfectly sticky pads. Because, somehow, babies exude stickiness. It might seep from their pores. Maybe they inhale oxygen, and exhale maple syrup. But there's definitely some type of sticky power happening.
I can give my youngest child a single cracker--crackers: a food which could be described not only as dry, but perhaps even as "anti-sticky"--and before I finish closing the box from which I took it, the kid is sticky from head to toe. And I mean that literally! I'll be finding crumbs stuck in his hair all day. I'll need to run a wet cloth in between his toes because a dry napkin would just get stuck and rip. I won't want to touch him because his belly feels like a glue trap. I won't want him to touch me because his hands and face are stickier than an octopus. It doesn't even have to be food. A ball. A book. A plastic rattle. All invoke the stickiness and themselves will demand to be washed soon after encountering my human-honey hybrid.
Occasionally, I will arm myself with wet rags, approach the high chair, and feel my socks grossly adhering to the floor. As I try not to focus on the mess, I speculate about movie theaters not really being victims of spilled soda pop. I picture someone, long long ago, carrying a toddler down each row of seats, with an invisible snail trail of goo being left behind as a warning to childless patrons.
I do love my kids, and I don't feel as if I'm stuck with them. But, quite often, I do feel as if I'm stuck TO them.


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