Maybe duct tape will get point across

By Kevin Wilson: PNT columnist

I may have a new use for duct tape.

That hardly seems like a discovery worthy of mentioning at all, let alone in a record that will stand forever in print — one also assumes the standard exists for online records, but I just saw “Terminator: Rise of the Machines” and am now unsure of all technology.

But I discuss duct tape because it forms bonds, no pun intended. I’ve written columns that were (at least I thought) inspiring, thought-provoking analysis pieces. Around the same time, I mindlessly wrote about a duct tape prom dress and filled it with duct tape stories from my childhood, including my friend Adrian’s duct tape locker shelf that was easily twice as expensive as its mass-produced plastic counterpart.

The former generated nothing — no calls, no e-mails, no angry letters. The latter produced an e-mail from a former New Mexico resident who ran a successful business and owned a duct tape wallet, an office visit from a woman who bought an extra copy to mail to a relative, and no angry letter. The last part proved relieving, as I would worry about anybody angered by duct tape.

So really, what I started four paragraphs ago was a cheap way to pique your interest, and if you’re still reading, I’ve successfully constructed a column with duct tape.

But that’s not my idea. The inspiration started when I did something I (and likely you) do multiple times daily — parked my car.

When I returned minutes later, my car had a another car as a neighbor. A very, very close neighbor. A neighbor that didn’t seem to bother with the pre-arranged lines for parking.

It wasn’t a small miscalculation — the offending car’s right side tires were six inches to the right of the line. And the car’s size wasn’t an issue — I walked around, and measured about two feet of open space to the right of the other yellow line.

As I re-entered my car, I felt like Catherine Zeta-Jones in “Entrapment,” trying to slither through my newly compacted entrance. Except there were no lasers. And when I finished with my slithering, she was still Catherine Zeta-Jones and I was a guy in a dirty car with pants that don’t fit.

I didn’t want this parking injustice to go unnoticed, but had little recourse. Should I wait outside for the driver? I had no idea how long they were shopping in the adjacent store (or if they were an employee just starting a long shift). Leave a note? My only piece of paper was a receipt, which had my name on it.

As I drove home frustrated about doing nothing, inspiration struck me. If people aren’t going to notice where the parking line is, why not give them a visual aid with duct tape? I’ve seen bright yellow tape sold, which matches most parking lines, and I assume some ingenious printer could customize a roll to read, “Since you have proven you needed additional help, this duct tape illustrates the part of your vehicle flagrantly in the plane of another motorist’s parking spot.”

I would want a less sticky version of the tape, because I don’t want to damage cars or create awkward cleaning jobs (though I think peanut butter might be the most effective treatment).

I’ve got something to work toward now. But as I drove Tuesday morning, I was almost struck by a man at an intersection who, while waiting to turn, pulled out 10 feet in front of the stop sign.

I don’t think any amount of duct tape will fix that one.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail: kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com