Here’s the deal. The earliest evidence of people using an adhesive dates back to the Middle Pleistocene era where stones were glued together using tar. That’s right, from the beginning of time humans have said: I must have food, I must have shelter, and I really want to stick this thing to that thing.
And here we are, 200,000 years later, and we still haven’t gotten it right.
For most of us, our first experience with adhesives is the paste that kindergarteners use as a tool for classroom art projects and a nutritional supplement. I don’t know what teachers expect, the container comes with a small, plastic tasting spoon. But don’t worry about the paste sticking to the child’s internal organs – this paste doesn’t stick to anything.
Next, we move on to Elmer’s glue – most useful for creating a secondary skin, wherein the gluee covers their fingers in glue and then, once it dries, peels it off. Again, it comes off quite easily due to the fact that this adhesive rarely adheres. Unless you’re gluing one piece of paper to another piece of paper, Elmer’s won’t do the job. And how often, after the age of eight, do we really find ourselves needing to glue one piece of paper to another piece of paper?
As adults, we develop more sophisticated glue needs. But do we really have any good options? There’s carpenter’s glue, Krazy glue, fabric glue, and glue sticks (which just remind me of the push-up popsicles I used to enjoy as a youngster…why do all the glue companies want kids to eat the stuff?) But I’ve never had a satisfying adhesive experience with any of these.
And if we go straight to the strongest stuff – super glue, it’s pretty terrifying. Here’s the actual warning label from a brand of super glue, “Possible cancer agent. Exposure may result in nausea, headache, confusion or instability. May be harmful by breathing vapors. Exposure may cause kidney damage.” All I wanted to do was repair this cracked picture frame, but now if I don’t hold my breath from the moment I open up the glue, my kidneys will fall out. The risk/reward ratio just isn’t there.
And then, of course, there’s the opposite side of the story. Who hasn’t had this happen –
That’s right, every glue I’ve ever purchased has the fastening power of cold oatmeal, but every single company that affixes labels to products has access to an ultra-glue that can’t be removed without the aid of an industrial-strength vat of chemicals and superhuman powers. (Non-stick pan my tuckus!)
Oh, and I almost forgot – glue guns. Who’s the genius behind this one? How about a device that spews burning hot viscous liquid out of a gun? Glue guns. From the makers of Deadly Acid Face Cannon.
I know what some of you are going to say – what about tape? Tape? Tape?!? Surely you jest. How is it that we’ve developed the technology that allows for subatomic particles to be fired at each other so that they smash together at rates approaching the speed of light, but we can’t develop a tape dispensing system that doesn’t result in me spending twenty minutes searching for the end of the tape each and every time I use it?
Yep, that’s it. I’m through with glues, tapes, pastes, and all of their adhesive brethren. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.