Sunday, January 22, 2006

Dad and Gorilla Glue

In her blog, Safari So Goody (with the groaner slogan "Kenya dig it?"), my sister tells the story of my father and Gorilla Glue.

Her telling of Dad's current obsession with Gorilla Glue is accurate. Even worse, about half the time, he is right about how the Gorilla Glue works. The chair example she gives, for instance, is an actual event regarding a chair that I had been trying to repair for years. Every time I thought I had the chair repaired, within a week it would break again. Eventually, the wood at the point of the break had been glued/drilled/nailed so many times, it was more like sponge. The chair would not take another repair, so we called it "Daddy's chair," because I was the only one allowed to sit in it for fear that one of the children would be hurt when it eventually crumbled.

Then my father came for Thanksgiving and saw the chair. "Oh, you can fix that right up. All you need is a little Gorilla Glue." From the tone of voice he used, I realized that Gorilla Glue was his current obsession, so even though I figured it was a waste of time, I agreed to try to fix it with him. Besides, it was a father/son project just big enough that we could easily do it during his holiday visit.

I've got to admit, it worked. Now, most of the other things he recommended Gorilla Glue for either didn't work, or worked only as well as Super Glue would have -- but this worked really well. That chair was more solid than it had been when we first bought it.

Can these little obsessions be annoying? Well, sure. But when I think back to the various ones he's had through the years -- duct tape, raised bed gardening, a particular type of roto-tiller, his pick-up truck, getting a boat (I'm his only child old enough to remember that one), etc -- I realize that they were all basically harmless. I can't remember any of these actually being damaging (except to the pocketbook, perhaps) in the way that other obsessions might be. No drinking problems, no fixations on radical religious or political beliefs, none of that.

So, while we might sometimes inwardly roll our eyes when Gorilla Glue comes out, I suspect that years from now, when he is gone and we are old, his children will remember fondly these harmless obsessions. We'll be at a family gathering, something will be broken, and one of the siblings will say, ironically, "A little Gorilla Glue will fix that;" the rest of us will smile fondly and remember him ... and that chair will still be in one piece.

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