Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tape - The Natural Enemy of Men

There are some things that you should never, ever mix. Things that just don’t go well together at all. Things like gasoline and a lighted match. Peanut butter and garlic pesto sandwiches. Oil and water. Cats and mice. Tape (or anything that is sticky on one or both sides) and men.

When I volunteered for Light the Night a week ago, I finished my first assigned task and said to Tiffany, the enthusiastic LTN coordinator, “Okay, what’s next?” She handed me two big plastic signs that said “Food Tent” on them and said, “Why don’t you go hang these on two sides of the food tent? Here’s the tape!” Oh no – tape? Not the tape! My hand quivered a bit as I picked up the big tape gun and walked, with great trepidation, towards the food tent.

I am just not good taping or wrapping things, and to generalize, I don’t think that most men are. A popular Christmas time TNT fund-raiser is to wrap purchases made by shoppers at a store, with the store’s permission, and then the person that you wrapped the gift for makes a donation. I tell people, only half in jest, that stores will donate to my Team in Training effort if I promise not to wrap gifts on their premises.

At the food tent, I carefully studied the situation. There was horizontal pipe framing for the tent about seven feet off the ground, and it was hidden by the fabric of the tent. Anything hiding my taping would be a plus. Oh, why couldn’t this involve rope? Rope is a good medium for manly men to work with, but not tape! After years sailing my 23 foot sloop off the coast of Maine, I was pretty good with rope, and can still tie a good bowline with my eyes closed in a few seconds. My tape work just looks like I had my eyes closed.

I cut a piece of tape, a little too short of course, and looped it over the pipe, then attached the end to the back of the first sign so that it hung at a sloppy angle, dangling in the air like a fallen cat clinging desperately to a ledge with one paw. I repeated the process at the other end so that the sign was hung. It barely hung under the fabric enough to read it. And one side of the tape was straight down and the other at a ridiculous angle. So I kept adding tape, none of it neat in any sense of the word, but all hidden by the tent’s skirting. I repeated the process for the other sign, and it even looked worse, but thanks to the skirting, it was tolerable. If it were a Christmas gift wrapped with the same sloppiness, the person getting the gift would assume that I hired a baboon to wrap it for them.

It reminded me of the big 26.2 sticker I had recently put on my car. I’ve been a marathoner for over 4 years now, and have been meaning to do this. The sticker has a sticky side with two pieces of paper backing that you pull off, and then apply to a surface. Easy enough, but when I did it, there were about six or seven big air bubbles trapped under the sticker. I spent about 15 minutes trying to push them out with my fingers, to no real avail. It just looks sloppy. I am sure people see it and wonder “Did a baboon put that sticker on that car? Do baboons run marathons?”

I finished my task and went back to see Tiffany for my next assignment. “You can set up the Light the Night store,” she said. “See these big boxes? They are all stuffed with LTN sweatshirts. Just take them out, fold them neatly, and put them on the tables.” Fold clothing? Neatly??? Oh, no!!!!

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

So funny and so very man......