Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Duct (Duck) Tape Generation

    Who isn't familiar with duct (Duck) tape?    Literally hundreds of millions of people have used duct tape for an extraordinary variety of uses.   Even uses including evening gowns and tuxedos.   Duct tape was invented in 1942 by a predecessor company of Johnson and Johnson and found its first use as a seal for ammunition cases for World War II.    Thus my geezer generation has lived with duct tape for 70 years.   While we now identify this tape as duct tape, it was originally called "duck" tape.   The origin of "duck" comes from the apparent connection to a waterproof canvass material making up the backing for the tape.
    Duct tape literally has been a lifesaver in the U.S. Space program.   When the Apollo 13 moon mission had an explosion one of the CO2 scrubbers was disabled.   Life support for the astronauts was critically damaged unless the scrubber in the moon lander module could be used.    To enable the use of the lander module scrubber it was necessary to connect a round duct to a square duct.    If this could not be accomplished the astronauts were doomed.    As soon as NASA engineers determined there was duct tape aboard they knew they could come up with a solution.   Based on the known materials in the space ship they devised a transition piece use instruction manual covers and duct tape.   And we all know the rest of the story.
     Last February I encountered  a more mundane use of duct tape with no life threatening implications but with a geezer connection.   During a gondola ride to the top of the mountain at Snowbasin ski resort I met a local geezer skier with plenty of character.   His conversation was colorful and he was well known to the Ski Patrol person to his right.   There was no question he was a dedicated hard core geezer skier sporting craggy wrinkles and a gray stubble beard.    His ski parka showed significant wear with a patch or two as well as a few stains.   However, the most notable aspect of his attire was his ski gloves.   Almost everyone of the fingers were encircled with duct tape.    Clearly he was extending the life of his gear with duct tape.
Duct Tape Decoration
     In keeping with the frugality of the Snowbasin geezer I too have resorted to duct tape to extend the life of one of my favorite ski mittens.   I almost always wear through the thumbs of my ski gloves or mittens.   Duct tape to the rescue!   See above.   Yes, I am proud to be a member of the duct tape generation.

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