Sunday, July 22, 2018

VELCRO is a Four Letter Word

Civilization has developed a seemingly infinite number of fasteners and connectors. They include steel fasteners, staples, paper clips, duct tape, invisible tape, masking tape, Scotch tape, strapping tape, nuts and bolts, rivets, cables and chains, hoses, pipes, funnels, tubes, welds, (lead) solder, nails and screws, hinges, hooks, hangers and latches, spacers, dongles, sprockets, pins, cotter pins and safety pins, rope, string, (shoe) laces, clasps and clamps, knots, e rings and o rings, anchors and hawsers, bindings, thumb tacks, adhesives, glue, epoxy, coatings, straps, buttons, belts, wire, twist ties, zippers, rubber bands, washers, dowels, whatever IKEA uses, and even handcuffs. I include stitches separately because my mom was once stitched with cat gut after a surgery. She was allergic to cat hair. Not a good idea! We didn’t need anything else. If 3M hasn’t thought of it, we don’t need it. George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, was walking in his garden in 1941 when he became obsessed. Burdock seeds were clinging to his coat and dog in 1941. He spent over a decade with the obsession. Finally in 1955 he patented Velcro. We now have, thanks to the Swiss engineer, the great, late 20th Century invention of the ubiquitous Velcro, a combination of hook and loop fasteners made out of fabric. They are the original clingons, predating Star Trek’s Klingons.. You cannot avoid Velcro. They propagate like rabbits. I have now acquired a strong, personal animus to Velcro. The doctors told me to wear a orthopedic boot because of a torn tendon. The boot is inconvenient, but short term. Velcro is the problem. I still have a few older ankle braces with laces. The laces have been replaced with Velcro on the newer braces and boots. Why? The laces worked great. The boot has three large and two shorter Velcro strips. The big straps are 22”x2”, the shorter straps are 11”x2”, which equals 176” of frustrating, elusive slack Velcros. Velcros are very independent minded. Even an isolated six inch Velcro strip is barely controllable. The Velcros may appear as inanimate objects, but they have strong family bonds. View the Velcros as 22” snakes. A loose Velcro will seek out and find another Velcro. Soon you have a tight knot of Velcro snakes wrapped around each other. You pry a 22” King Velcro free, and its tail will be magnetically attracted to the knot. Pry is the operative word because the Velcro snake fights to stay attached. You have to pry the Velcro apart, but first you have to find an end, which has burrowed into another Velcro or the boot. Three hands are needed to attach the one Velcro, and keep it attached, with four more straps to go. Some black Velcros hide, carefully camouflaged in the black boot. One Velcro went missing two nights ago. Cats are not loyal, They disappear for two reasons: 1) They got a better offer up the block; or 2) The coyotes got them. Neither applies to the Velcros. My premise is that the missing Velcro wandered off on its own to find another young Velcro, and like many young animals, start a new family of its own. But who do you call on a missing Velcro. “Officer, one of our black Velcros is missing. Yes, it’s AWOL, MIA. lost in space, playing hooky, tardy, ran away from home, looking for the bright lights of Broadway or Hollywood, couldn’t afford the rent,may be hanging out in bad company I don’t know. It’s gone. Yes, Officer, I know it doesn't make sense. The Velcro lacks area and legs, and even a soul, but it has slinkered off somewhere. I don't know where. Who knows what a Velcro is thinking? Can you put a Bolo out for the missing Velcro?” The SPCV, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Velcros, is not yet in existence. Velcros are not cute. No one falls in love with them, except for the late de Mestral. He was obsessed with Velcro No one kidnaps Velcros and hold them up for ransom. Taking the boot off seems easy, but as you loudly, emphasis on loudly, rip the Velcro strap off, you worry if you’ve ripped the boot or strap. What a piercing sound! 2,500 employees work in England for Velcro. Maybe Brexit will put an end to Velcro. Velcro has become a four letter word

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