by Nancy A. Clark
First came fire; then the wheel. And it came to pass that man collected enough electrons and protons to make a light bulb to find his way to the privy in the dark without stubbing a toe.
Man has discovered and devised millions of energy-efficient, work-saving durable goods to elevate himself above monkey-hood. Consider electrostatic tamers like hair conditioners and dryer sheets. Martha Stewart has blessed many advancements with her It’s A Good Thing seal of approval; but I’ve yet to hear her endorse a product that has made one of man’s most confounding problems – fixing leaky pipes –look like child’s play.
I speak here of none other than polymerized siloxanes/[R2SUI]n, a synthetic compound commonly known as silicone –the eighth wonder of the world that can be found packaged in a tube on hardware, home improvement, auto parts and drug-store shelves, everywhere.
According to the American English Dictionary, “SILICONE is a chemical substance that is not easily damaged by heat or water; used for making many things including oils, plastics, and artificial body parts.”
The Urban Dictionary’s top definition for silicone: 1) If you actually bothered to search silicone in urban dictionary your retarded (a definition from one obviously in need of a lesson in grammar).
Silicone is not a controlled substance, nor is it (yet) a black market item. No license, prescription or photo ID is required to acquire it. Even minors can purchase it without written parental consent.
The pliable Silly Putty-like substance is “the most important element of the 21st century,” so saith www.springer.com. The American Chemistry Council confirms that there is a silicon-based component in practically every manufactured product on the market today – from every mode of transportation in which grass, hay, oats or corn-on-a-cob does not power the engine or motor to denture molds and, yes, artificial body parts.
This miracle in a tube is to industrialists, consumers and do-it-yourselfers what the Stanley Cup is to hockey. When used as directed, the modern day marvel can and has solved some of the more profound, as well as mundane complexities in life. If you don’t believe me, just ask my hubby. Around these here parts, he’s known as King Silicone. (The reader may bow or curtsy as the king enters the court.)
My better-half reveres silicone as devoutly as he reveres his morning coffee. Given an ounce of encouragement, he might strap on a double holster gun rig and slip two tubes of slick silicone where the old west cowboys holstered six shooters. His ingenious applications of this versatile compound have earned him the silicone crown, and he wears it well.
Silicone has allowed him to become the ultimate tamer when it comes to leaky anything. The bathtub, shower stalls and faucets in our house bear the king’s silicone seal of approval. A blob or bead of the stuff accessorizes our rain gutters, downspouts and practically every drain pipe joint. King Silicone and his loyal subjects liken the elastic substance to the Waters of Lourdes, lauding its power to heal, seal, strengthen, repair and restore. He has found productive ways to use the product that far exceed manufacturer’s recommendations.
Hubby’s theory of “a little dab’ll do ya” has paid off at window and door frames and at the base of bathroom “thrones” and deck support posts and anywhere necessity summons and the mother (or the father) of invention answers. The king has purposed the product for purposes other than those for which it was originally purposed – as in plugging holes in his truck bed liner spanning a tear in a window screen and leveling a wobbly table leg.
It was hubby and his miracle-in-a-tube to the rescue when a sharp piece of metal protruding from the underside of our picnic table ripped a tear in my thigh. The silicone did nothing to repair my injury, but future picnickers need not worry about the sharp point that is now buried under a very generous “dab’ll do” it.
Unlike Thomas Edison or Bill Gates, the laboratory genius who concocted the recipe for silicone may never become a household name; but the king and I have no doubt in our minds that this processed sensation will go down in history for its innumerable applications. Mark my words: one day the ubiquitous silicone will be inducted in The Hall of Tame, wedged between a bottle of hair conditioner and a box of dryer sheets, all three trophies nailed in position with a little “dab’a” — you guessed it.
Nancy Clark and her husband, Tom, rejoice in 50 years of marriage, three children, three grand-children, and one great-grandchild. She dabbles in freelance and memoir writing when she isn’t baking, knitting, reading, or building a jigsaw puzzle.