Monday, February 17, 2003

Duct Tape Conspiracy

We finally bought our duct tape this week. We already had the plastic sheeting, the transistor radio and extra batteries, three days supply of water and tuna. Now we’re totally prepared.

And so, apparently, is the United States.

When the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued emergency instructions to Americans to stock up on the supplies needed for a sealed room, including duct tape, many Americans heeded the call.

Now you might think that, as Israelis we might have some extra insight into duct tape, since we have been using the stuff since the first Gulf War in 1991. And we do.

So here goes. Behind the rainbow of alerts – orange, blue, yellow and beyond – and the increasingly threatening messages emanating from Al Qaeda on an almost weekly basis now, there lays a conspiracy of even more diabolical proportions.

I’m not talking about the oft-repeated suggestion that the looming war against Iraq is all about taking over an Arab land in order to seize its oil.

No, it turns out that the entire push for war is being manipulated by a singularly evil corporate monopoly: the International Association of Duct Tape Manufacturers.

Think about it: who ever heard of duct tape before sealed rooms? A couple of electricians maybe. But it wasn’t in the everyday vernacular. It was like Weapons of Mass Destruction. And Al Jezeera. Words used by the intelligence community, not by the Average Joe.

In fact, a recent poll indicated that 87% of both Americans and Israelis thought it was actually “Duck Tape.” And they have been scratching their feathers ever since trying to figure out either why we should be taping ducks to our windows, or making a sticky adhesive out of a heretofore tasty waterfowl.

All this is further exacerbated by the fact that the leading manufacturer of Duct Tape – Henkel Consumer Adhesives – has renamed its flagship brand as "Duck Products", with their main product being, yes, "Duck Tape." A classic disinformation strategy if I ever heard one!

Need more proof? You only need to look back as far as last year when duct tape was making the news in an entirely different context: wart removal.

That’s right. Researchers apparently discovered that the most effective way to remove warts was not by freezing and zapping, but by applying duct tape to the affected area. In 85% of cases, the warts, apparently, just fall off on their own. That's in contrast to only a 60% success rate for the more common cryotheraphy. It's a crying shame, really...

But the real smoking gun is the number of people making big money on duct tape. Ever hear of The Duct Tape Guys? These two so-called “comedians” have created a veritable empire from the stuff, including four books (the latest being “The Jumbo Duct Tape Book: 464 Pages of Duct Tape Wit and Wisdom”) that have sold over a million copies, plus eight “365 Days of Duct Tape” calendars. Watch for their new book, “Duct Shui,” out soon.

Interested in having The Duct Tape Guys perform at your next corporate event and demonstrate some of the more than 5,000 uses they’ve found for duct tape? It’s only $3,900/day plus travel expenses in order to learn the Duct Tape Mantra:

It Aint Broke, It Just Lacks Duct Tape.

Another duct tape heavy is Canadian television's Red Green who has just released the ultimate sticky cinematic experience: "Duct Tape Forever: The Movie."

To keep us off guard, the duct tape conspirators purport to share the wealth. At the Duct Tape Club, you can win $2,500 for the best photo of you and your date wearing duct tape to the prom, or for the most outrageous duct taping of your car.

But hijinks aside, the Duct Tape industry still needed was an additional catalyst to propel usage into truly stratospheric levels, and fear of chemical attack fit the bill quite nicely. If it worked in Israel 12 years ago, why not try it in the good old U.S. of A.

Now that I’ve exposed this conspiracy, you can be sure that it won’t be long before the Jews and Israel will be blamed for it all.

Just like after 9/11, the Mossad, it will be claimed, will have tipped off Israelis far in advance who will now be reselling duct tape on city street corners at massively inflated prices. Rabbis, it will soon be said, will have given coded sermons in synagogue suggesting that their parishioners buy certain stocks and mutual funds endorsed by the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council.

In the interest of fair reporting, I must disclose that I once purchased an significant amount of duct tape myself in order to create a really scary Purim costume: kind of a mummy meets Dwayne Schneider (you remember him – the wacky superintendent played by Pat Harrington Jr. from TV sitcom classic “One Day at a Time”).

So, next time you claim you know what this war is really about, just remember you read it here first. Warts and all.

And oh yes, isn't duct tape also a petroleum product?

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