“If you had duct tape, you were prepared for anything.”
― Annie Barrows,
Replacing the side-view mirror would have been the easiest fix, but it would have taken money that could be used for more important things. Removing the damaged mirror would have left the driver unable to see if a car were coming in the right lane. It isn’t as if you can glue a side-view mirror together and believe it will hold. My daddy taught me about problem solving and the importance of having the right tools for the job. I’m here to tell you that for less than $5 the side-view mirror stayed attached to the car for many years thanks to a wonderful product called duck (duct) tape that just happened to match the silver-gray paint of the car. It’s no wonder that when I saw Barrows quote about duct tape and preparation, I knew it was an important truth to share with anyone listening.
During World War II, Vesta Stoudt was packaging boxes of bullets that would be shipped to the soldiers, two of whom were her sons. The way the “waterproof” boxes were packaged left soldiers rushing to retrieve bullets as they scattered from the box upon opening, and often the thin layer of tape still gave way to moisture. Realizing that the best tape would be made of waterproof cloth, Mrs. Stoudt discovered a solution for the problem, but she couldn’t get anyone to listen to her. Writing to President Roosevelt, her voice and invention were heard and seen and soon to be a regular item used in packaging the bullets. Made of duck cloth and waterproof like a duck, the tape was called Duck Tape. Imagine how delighted Vesta might be to know that millions of people consider what we call duct tape to be a staple in every tool box today!
Also in your tool box might be a can of Water Displacement on the 40th try, or WD-40. As with Duck Tape, WD-40’s purpose is to protect metal from the dangers of moisture: rust. Invented by the small Rocket Chemical Company in 1953 on the 40th attempt at a recipe, WD-40 has been in wars as a way to help soldiers protect their firearms from moisture damage and in my home to stop many a door hinge from squeaking. If you need a fix for a problem, Duck Tape and WD-40 are two good places to start.
There are problems that arise frequently that WD-40 and Duck Tape won’t fix. We live in the ‘information age’, and answers are all around us and yet sometimes just out of our reach. When my aunt needed to be reminded of how to do her physical therapy, I provided a video of her physical therapy session, so she could see and hear her therapist once she was at home. When I hear someone say they can’t figure out how to do something on a website, I take screenshots (pictures) or a video of myself going to each place on the screen they need to click, so they have something to refer to later. When I can’t remember your name, I try to create a funny word to match it so I won’t forget so quickly the next time.
Sometimes, we need to use problem-solving tools: How do I find work that pays me for doing something I actually enjoy, or a better way to save money? Go to the internet, the library, or a friend to find solutions. If you have contact cement stuck in your hair or the children’s LEGO blocks are stuck together, WD-40 is your solution. If you need a new wallet or your boat has a leak, Duck (Duct) Tape is your answer. Most problems have solutions, but it all begins with our willingness to look for answers and ask for help.