I'm sure we'll all be glad when I'm done sorting through these old files...
Why doesn’t anyone ever superglue his fingers together anymore?
In the seventies, supergluing your fingers together was a story more common than the poodle in the microwave or the terrorist telling the gas station clerk to avoid a certain location on a certain date—but it wasn’t an urban legend. Oh, sure, some superglue legends have sprung up in recent years: the hapless victim unwittingly glued to the toilet seat, the creative revenge against a cheating spouse…but it was different in the seventies. Nearly everyone actually knew someone to whom this had actually happened. In fact, nearly everyone WAS someone to whom this had actually happened.
Superglue, of course, was modern technology in those days. We’d never seen anything like it. In an amazing television commercial, a construction worker dangled from a beam, supported entirely by a hardhat secured to the beam with superglue. We couldn’t believe it.
We couldn’t use it, either.
Personally, I glued my seventy-seven year old grandmother’s fingers together in an effort to glue plastic garbage bags (perhaps the one material on earth to which superglue does not adhere) together to create a home-made Slip-n-Slide. We were able, with a little nail polish remover, to separate her fingers before my mother came home, but a telltale crustiness remained ever after she’d bathed. She agreed not to tell my mother, but I was petrified. Everyone knew that superglue stayed FOREVER. I looked doubtfully at her fingers and contemplated the weighty possibility that I’d ruined my grandmother.
My husband laughed at me when I told him this story. It was easy for him to laugh. He’d never superglued an elderly relative to anything. The nearest he’d come was supergluing himself to a garden hose while trying to repair a cut he didn’t want his parents to find that he’d made.
The stories are endless. I’ll spare you the one from my college days where I tried to repair a broken fingernail with superglue while drinking and ended up getting glue on the rim of my beer can.
“Why,” I asked my husband, “don’t people ever superglue themselves to thing anymore?”
“We’ve learned,” he suggested, and then my six-year-old daughter interjected, “and the ones who are too young to learn hear their parents telling these embarrassing stories…”
It was a good theory, but I didn’t buy it. Everyone knew, back in the day, how dangerous superglue was. The warnings on the package were nothing compared to the ones whispered by people who’d glued themselves to their model airplanes and telephones, or set forth sternly by parents who didn’t think that even teenagers should be using superglue without supervision. It was serious stuff. We knew it. We revered it and feared it, and then we put our fingers into it and stuck.