Mudlark No. 39 (2010)

Plastic #7 (Other: Cellophane)

     And so it follows immediately that what is added is nothing.
                        — Zeno of Elea (as paraphrased by Simplicius)

When you press together, back-to-back, a pair of cellophane tape sections, no matter how many further pieces you add to the resulting interstitial space (back-to-back, front-to-back, or front-to- front), those first two will never find purchase.1

Plastic tape can be looped around a finger and fashioned into an anchor (annular single-sided); it can be twisted into a Mobius strip (single single-sided); or folded in on itself (zero-sided).2 It cannot, however, stick to itself without turning inwards.

Virtually all tape production was diverted to the War effort. More than one hundred new varieties of adhesive tape, including double-sided,3 were developed to meet a diverse set of military needs, then adapted by consumers.4

The metaphysicians of several non-hominid species have resolved this dilemma phylogenetically (rather than martially).5 Our own philosophers have long yearned to ruminate, but have yet to find the means.6 We’ve settled instead on its use as a bulking agent in fat-free foods. There’s nothing quite like the sensation of savoring a sugar you can’t have.7 Just make sure to wash your hands in the carbon sink when you’ve finished.

1 My maternal-maternal great-great-grandmother worked in the gift wrapping department of Schuster’s department store in Milwaukee, which later became Gimbels-Schusters, and then Gimbels.

2 See Space-Time Origami: or, Einstein-Rosen Bridges.

3 The existence of innately double-sided tape — a novel species — offers no solution for the paradox of the transmutation of single-sided tape.

4 Scotch tape has been used to repair torn book pages, stop runs in panty hose, and bind flashlights to the underside of gun barrels.

5 With a bit of microbial advice.

6 Cellophane, which is composed of reconstituted cellulose fibers (most often garnered from cotton or wood), makes an excellent potential foodstuff.

7 Dear Beatrice, I covet even the bezoar* from your stomach.

* A concretion; a calculus; an antidote.

Drew Dillhunt | Mudlark No. 39 (2010)
Contents | Plastic #7 (Other: Polytetrafluoroethylene)