The Unglued Attorney
It seemed like such a good idea. It seemed like such an easy fix. The desk had a loose vinyl strip along its front edge just begging to be glued. I wanted to fix it for our new tenant. I wanted to make my wife proud.
I carefully squeezed the Super Glue into the tiny space between the strip and the edge of the desk. One inch, two inches, three inches and more, slowly spreading the glue with a paper clip. And then the squeeze, first with my fingers and then with my toes, holding the strip in place until the glue set. “One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi …” Around “four Mississippi” it occurred to me that I had no idea how many Mississippi’s it would take for the glue to set. I hadn’t read the instructions on the package of glue. In fact, I’ve never met a guy who has ever read the instructions. At “eight Mississippi” I started to get tired. At “twenty-seven Mississippi” I sort of nodded off. At “thirty-eight Mississippi” I woke up and stepped back to admire my work.
And then it happened …
I noticed some adhesive labels stuck on the top of the desk. There were four of them near the rear edge. No worries. I was prepared. I had brought a brand-new bottle of Goo Gone to the job site. I brought a utility scraper knife too. I even had a circular-saw but it turned out I didn’t need it. I reached over to the stuck labels and went to work. It is good to saturate an adhesive label with Goo Gone. It helps to shout encouragement too.
I soaked and scraped those labels for a good twenty minutes. Soak and scrape and wipe and then soak and scrape and wipe some more. It takes real elbow grease to remove adhesive labels from the top of a desk. It takes time too. Time enough to wonder why someone stuck them there in the first place. They had no useful function that I could discern.
At last the labels were gone. So was the Goo.
And then it happened, again …
I tried to get up from my chair. But I couldn’t move. I looked down to find my shirt completely Super Glued to the vinyl strip on the desk. And it wasn’t just the shirt – it was a forest of hair beneath the shirt! And it hurt! I never knew Super Glue could hurt that much. Even a gentle tug felt like fifty Band Aids being ripped off at once.
If this has never happened to you then you might not appreciate the many sundry thoughts that go through your mind at a time like this. It was a Saturday afternoon. If I didn’t escape I might not be found until Monday morning. The firehall was next door. I thought about calling them. But I couldn’t reach my phone. Besides, I worried that the Amherst Bee headline would read, “Williamsville Patent Attorney Glues Himself to a Desk!”
I thought about my wife and daughter, and our two dogs. I wondered if I would ever see them again.
I thought about the spectacle that would happen in our office when everyone found me on Monday morning. I have an image to uphold after all. Not to brag, but I have a degree in engineering with honors. I am admitted to practice law in four different jurisdictions. I have a measured IQ of 142 and scored a 98 on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills in fourth grade. I can solve a Rubic’s Cube in 14 seconds! But none of that mattered. I was glued to a desk. My epitaph would surely read, “Here lies an attorney who glued himself to a desk in the middle of a pandemic. RIP”
It was time to put every ounce of my engineering education and experience to work. I slowly and carefully peeled my shirt from the desk, dabbing with Goo Gone along the way. It took ten minutes to break free. But my shirt was still glued to my belly. I tried to remove my shirt to no avail. You don’t really appreciate how much a button-down dress shirt weighs until it is tugging on a three inch by one-inch strip of your belly, and all that that entails. I couldn’t pull it away. I’m not saying it hurt as much as childbirth does, but maybe as much as an appendix removal without anesthesia.
It was then that I made the sacrifice. I pulled some scissors from the desk drawer and started to snip away at the shirt. I was happy that it was only a Jos. A. Bank shirt and not one of my prized Brooks Brothers Egyptian cotton Oxford button-downs. That would have been more than I could bear. The pressure was on. I had a 7 p.m. dinner reservation to keep. I cut all around the stuck portion of the shirt. When the operation was complete I held my shirt in my hand and looked down to see a swatch of light blue end on end fabric stuck to my belly three inches northeast of my navel.
I won’t bore you with the final details related to the removal except to say that some ouches, a few screams and my Braun electric razor were involved.
And, when it was done, there I was, topless in my office building on a Saturday afternoon. I looked around for a shirt or a jacket but none was to be found. I had left my jacket in the back seat of my car, and my car was in the parking lot next to the funeral home. It’s not illegal for a guy to walk topless across a funeral home parking lot in Williamsville in October, but I can tell you now from experience that it doesn’t feel normal either. And you tend to get looks from passers-by.
I debated telling my wife about this experience. But a Bourbon Old Fashioned helps to erase Super Glue memories. So, after clicking glasses to celebrate another week of being together, she asked me, “What did you do today …?”
I hope our new tenant likes his fr$#$*ing desk!
Penned by my landlord, Robert P. Simpson, Esq., about the desk he prepared for me.