Originally created 02/20/03

Duct tape keeps sticking around



It's the tape that will hold the world together. At least that's what most Americans are thinking.

When the government put the nation on orange alert and urged people to assemble supply kits, including enough duct tape and plastic to cover their entire house, the masses flocked to home-improvement stores.

A manager at The Home Depot on Bobby Jones Expressway said Tuesday that duct-tape sales at the store had increased slightly in the previous week.

But now that the terror alert hasbeen reduced to yellow, what is there to do with all that tape and plastic?

The short answer: Plenty.

Minnesota humorist Garrison Keillor sings the praises of duct tape weekly on Prairie Home Companion, the public radio show "brought to you by the American Duct Tape Council - because duct tape is about the only thing you need sometimes." The fictional council's publicized uses range from patching car mufflers to holding up droopy socks - and flesh-colored duct tape will "keep your neck taut and youthful" in lieu of a face lift.

Dr. Rick Focht of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center published a medical journal article in October recommending duct tape's use on warts. It's a less expensive, less painful and more convenient removal method than freezing them, he wrote.

Walter Shropshire, the owner of Georgia Carolina Painters, says that people can donate their leftover tape to them.

"We'd be in real trouble if there were no such thing as duct tape," he said, laughing. "We use it for just about everything, from taping things to protect it from sandblasting and painting to tape up pants legs and shirts to protect our guys. We'll take any and all donations."

A barber at the Daniel Village Barber Shop, who didn't want her name used, suggested something else.

"They could use it to tie up Jesse Jackson and Martha Burk when they come to town," she said.

Local artist Lou Ann Zimmerman had yet another suggestion - create art.

Ms. Zimmerman, who specializes in collage, spent Tuesday afternoon working silver duct tape into a piece of art at her Broad Street studio.

She also had a more practical use.

"I use it to keep cold air from flowing under doors and through cracks in window seals," she said.

Several Web sites dedicated to the universal language of duct tape offer way more uses for the sticky stuff.

Some include taping your keys to the bottom of your car so you never lose them, and making a one-piece shaving kit.

Then there's always apparel. The people at Duck Tape are holding a contest requiring duct tape formalwear for this year's prom. The most stylish couple will each win $2,500 for college.

"Duct tape ensembles allow students to be creative and original with their prom attire," according to the company's press release. "And, because Duck brand tape is available in 17 colors other than the standard silver and gray, students can be as clever and creative as they want."

Wire reports were used in this article.

STICKY CHOICES

Here are some Web sites devoted to duct tape:

  • www.ducttapefashion.com
  • www.ducttapeguys.com
  • http://204.255.212.10/thorsse/duct.html - a list of uses for duct tape. The site also contains the phrase "God made the world, but it's held together with duct tape."
  • www.ducktapeclub.com
  • www.ducttapeforever.com
  • Reach Jennifer Hilliard at (706) 823-3223 or jennifer.hilliard@augustachronicle.com.