By Dick Brooks
For Capital Region Independent Media
To look at me, you’d never guess I had any problems. If you passed me on the street, you might say to yourself, “What a strikingly handsome, chubby old bald guy!” and never know I was challenged.
I shouldn’t have this problem. I used to be a good athlete with good coordination. Sure, the ballet lessons never took, but that’s another story.
I’m still not doing too badly — I can eat by myself and seldom stick the fork into my forehead, and handle most of life’s foibles with a smile until I run into one of the few things that I will readily admit give me problems.
I have decided that I am “peel-and-stick” challenged.
It was never a big problem, but the number of things that need to be peeled and stuck is growing by leaps and bounds.
I started paying closer attention to this developing problem the other day when I went to a doctor’s office in a large hospital. I asked the receptionist to validate my parking ticket. She used to whip out a stamp and give the ticket a thump and I was set to go. This time, she handed me a sticker. A peel-and-stick kind of sticker. She told me to just peel off the back and stick it onto the ticket.
I tried — I picked and picked at the nearest corner. It shredded a little, but not enough for me to grab onto anything large enough to pull on. I went to the next corner and so on and so on and so on.
I have no fingernails. I frequently have my hands in stuff that I don’t want under my nails, so I keep them cut short. I will also confess to having been a nail biter and keeping my nails short keeps me from chewing on them during times of stress, like scary movies and forgotten anniversaries.
I finally stuck the sticker between my teeth and bit some of the backing off. I grabbed the chunk of backing that was sticking up and triumphantly peeled off the back. I now had a sticker clinging to my finger that I tried to stick straight onto the back of the ticket. It went on crooked. I think it’s static electricity or something, but every time I try to put one of these darned things on straight, it jumps off my finger and grabs onto whatever I’m trying to put it on. It always winds up crooked and wrinkled.
Peel-and-sticks are appearing everywhere. Have you tried putting one of the vehicle registration stickers on yet? You only have to peel part of it, then trying to get it onto a curved windshield down near the bottom where your hand won’t fit anyway is next to impossible.
The stamps at the post office — all peel-and-stick. I miss the old ones. I liked the taste of the glue they used to use. I admit it was an acquired taste but pleasant, kind of a cross between peppermint candy and Palmolive soap.
The only problem I had with the old lick-type stamps was around Christmas when I walked around for a couple of days after card-writing time with my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. Being peel-and-stick challenged, it takes me longer now to get the stamps on the cards than it does to write them. If you get a Christmas card with a wrinkled and crooked stamp on it, it may be from me.
I believe one should face one’s handicaps head on. Being of a creative mind, I went out to my shop to solve this problem for both me and the good of all mankind. I found an old rubber finger, the kind folks used to use to count money. Not having enough cash to warrant owning such an object, I decided to put it to better use.
I stuck a common pin through the end of it, giving me a useful tool to pick at the backing of the peel-and-sticks. I was excited because it worked well! Then I dropped it into my pocket and discovered a design flaw when I next bent over. After discreetly pulling the pin out of my thigh, I discarded by new invention.
I think I’m going to try one of those stick-on fingernails next. Maybe something in a soft pink.
Thought for the day — “If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and will never achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.’” — Dave Barry