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The marvels of duct tape

I have learned so many things during the 15 years I’ve lived in Summit County.

I’ve learned that a giant lobster appears in the snow atop Peak 8 each spring, that my favorite restaurant was a bordello 100 years ago and that no matter how wide you build the highways, people still will stop – in the middle of their lane – to take photos.

But I’d have to say the most valuable thing anyone can learn here is the incredible range of uses for duct tape.



Like most people, I’ve used it to “repair” holes in my Sorels, as a means to hold my luggage onto the top of the car or to plug a leaky radiator hose. It has served double duty as a ski buckle, a bungee cord to hold my rowing oars on my car and once, even as a lid to keep my fish from sloshing into the car floor as I transported it from Denver to Breckenridge. It plugs, it holds, it ties – what more do you need from a product that costs about a penny a foot?

It’s miraculous.



And now, I have learned one more use for the stuff: wart removal.

I heard about this on the radio the other day, and while many physicians throughout the United States laughed and guffawed about the idea, much less the practice, I knew doctors up here were listening carefully. They, too, know the value of duct tape.

A well-paid researcher, who we must assume was paid highly to buy the drugs that enabled him to come up with this idea, said that duct tape, if applied properly, can dissolve warts. This does not surprise me in the least.

You place a piece of tape over your wart and keep it there for six days – come rain or shine or bath or hot date. On the seventh day, you let it rest, by removing the tape. On the eighth day, you put a new piece on for six more days. It should be gone.

The researcher said there’s something in the adhesive that irritates the area around the wart, thus triggering a saber-rattling of sorts among the body’s defense mechanisms. This is not unlike George W. Bush’s war on terrorism, except that apparently it works.

Well, I think this is one hell of an improvement over the methods my family has used over the years, including going to a real-life physician.

Death by chemical inundation was the first method we tried when my little brother grew a wart on his finger. Death by sub-zero freezing was the next step. Another attempt involved toenail clippers, another a Swiss Army knife. We even went so far as to try eye of newt mixed with pollen of thistle and chanting a song under a waxing moon.

All to no avail. The wart grew back bigger and happier than ever.

Not to mention the pain involved.

Anyone can see mothers routinely hauling screaming kids into clinics, their hands bunched up in their laps to prevent the doctor from even looking at their warty little paws. I remember this well.

My mother routinely dragged my brother to the clinic, where a diabolical doctor donned a baggy protective suit and opened the door to the deep freeze. Dense swirls of fog poured from a dark place in the wall. The doctor re-emerged from the fog with a giant metal container bearing a skull and crossbones. Then he pulled an oversized Q-Tip of sorts – and when you’re a child, the bigger the treatment, the worse the pain – from a sterile glass jar.

That’s when doctors do the worst thing they could ever do in the mind of a child: they smile. Like, now it’s OK?

So, with Mom holding my little brother’s outstretched hand toward the doctor, the doctor dipped the Q-Tip in the big metal container. We could hear the cotton on the Q-Tip crunching in the cold. Tiny fibers broke off and shattered like glass on the floor. Even the windows grew frost on them. The doctor, shivering, applied the frozen stick to my brother’s warty little hand.

OK, so it’s not that bad; I’ve had it done myself. It’s cold, it’s hot, it burns.

The worst part is, you have to come back in a week to have the entire process repeated. It’s because of that, I’m convinced, that my brother became a malpractice attorney.

Suffice it to say, I’m happy they’ve made this discovery about duct tape.

I’m going to let my brother know about it. He has a big wart on the end of his nose. He insists it’s a mole.

And I think he’ll look suave – even debonair – fighting lawsuits in court with a swath of duct tape on his face.

I should have told him years ago.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or jstebbins@summitdaily.com.


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