Thursday, February 26, 2009


This morning one of the knobs on my chest of drawers fell off. I therefore quickly remedied the situation using Superglue. Now, the knob and its attendant drawer are as one again, as if the catastrophe had never occurred. But while waiting for the two to fully bond (the tube recommends 30 minutes), I had time to ponder the nature of my glue and the implications of its adhesion.

From what I’ve read, Superglue was originally developed as a battlefield remedy, first seeing active service in Vietnam in the late 60s. I expect whenever soldiers trod on a “Gook” landmine or were at the wrong end of a Howitzer barrage, the chief medic would instantly radio “Glue! Glue!”, whereupon an Apache helicopter would swoop down and drop a couple of tubes of the stuff. Thus, once the various bits of soldier had been gathered up (and, presumably, separated into individual piles), they could easily be stuck back together again. Then, 30 minutes later, the glue having fully dried, the soldier was restored to near original condition, just like my chest of drawers.

There must have been one major problem, however: alcohol.

According to the instructions that came with my glue, if I accidentally stick my fingers together (or to something else), all I need do is apply an alcohol-based solvent, and they’ll come apart again. This fact probably imposed severe restrictions on the repaired soldiers’ recreational activities. If, during R+R, they went to a bar, they’d have had to confine their boozing to something relatively weak, like beer. Were they to attempt to down whisky or gin, they’d most likely fall apart before Closing Time. At the very least, an arm or head would drop off. If they were too pissed, they might not even notice, and leave it there.

I imagine this happened quite a few times in Saigon bars. The barman therefore had the option of either binning the body part or storing it behind the bar in case the soldier, having sobered up, remembered where he’d left it and came back. But there must have been many instances where they didn’t bother, so the bits and pieces just piled up over time. Doubtless in several instances, the bar owners eventually found that they had enough to glue together a completely new body. And I’ll bet they often did.

Actually, this explains the various Vietnamese you see these days with mixed Negroid, Caucasian, and Asiatic features. The official story, peddled by the Hanoi Government and believed by many, is that they’re simply the offspring of American servicemen and Vietnamese prostitutes. In fact, I believe they’re the result of successfully Supergluing bits and pieces of assorted Vietnamese regular soldiers and US troops.

Anyway, talking of Asiatic features, the man who runs my local fish and chip shop has them. He claims to be Chinese, but could just as likely be ex-Vietcong. They all look alike. If he is, the fact that I’ve used Superglue could, in his eyes, make me some sort of enemy collaborator, so he may well try to come round here later on a bamboo bicycle and snipe at me from the undergrowth. Just to make sure this doesn’t happen, I suppose I’ll have to go across the road to The Golden Plaice and stick an anti-personnel mine on the side of his chip fryer. Better safe than sorry.


Anonymous said...

Shall I dress up like Sgt Barnes in Platoon?I could point my 9mm at the hapless chip shop owner and scream "You VC,you VC".We could end the evening by shooting dead his granny and raping his daughter.

Anonymous said...

Yesteryear I was provided with a small army of action men to 'occupy' my time and take my mind of my un-able parents.

When one of them became injured during the course of action ( i.e I shoved him in a vice and took a blow-torch and plyers to him) my father would attempt his field medic impression and patch-up the fallen with a bit of superglue.

Clearly, as your post elaborates the adhesive should only be used on humans and not on synthetic plastic.

I will make father aware of the error of his ways.

Joe Slavko said...

I am ecologically aware. I only use all-natural, organic plastic myself.