I worked with Elmer's glue today. I'm not proud of this fact, but I'm certainly not blaming the glue or the brand. The reason I'm not proud is because I used it to create an academic poster - not a true academic poster, mind you, this isn't going to a conference - but it is part of a final poster presentation I am making in my last graduate class.
While normally I pay upwards of $80 for a slick, glossy poster for presentations, the instructor deemed this was unnecessary for the final class and encouraged us to be creatively cheap.
Elmer's, you are hereby deemed creatively cheap.
As I delicately applied you to the slides, flipped them over, and warmly rubbed each slide carefully and created heat to entice you to stick, I had a very strong sense memory from 4th grade.
4th grade was the first time I had a male teacher. I don't remember his name, but he was tall, brown-haired, in his 40s or 50s, and had clearly done time as a product of the 1960s. His favorite suit color was brown. His most typical clothing assembly consisted of brown slacks, brown overcoat, a yellow shirt, and a brown and peach striped tie. He was weary of teaching, and it showed. He liked to call out a boy named Jimmy in class, who smelled of dirt and trash and regularly burped loudly. Every time Jimmy would burp, the teacher would call him out and say how disgusting he was acting. Poor Jimmy, who clearly came from a harsh home, grinned at the only attention he received during the day. He would toss his tow-headed hair out of his eyes and wiggle in his seat. I sat across the aisle from him and can remember how putrid his smell was to this day.
It was in the class that I learned what sex was, what humping was, and why girls don't shave their forearm hair. Johnny Campbell, the red-headed kid with freckles, innocently asked what sex was one day, and the teacher overreacted by throwing his hands up in the air and started yelling, "YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT SEX IS, HUH?! DO YOU? Because we'll get the school nurse in here RIGHT NOW!! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?? She'll explain sex to you ALL DAY LONG! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? HUH??" I didn't know what sex was, but it must have been important because our teacher was sure mad. My friend Sarah, an early developer who wore a bra, told me that that sex meant you humped. I listened to her with rapt attention as we played Connect 4 over the lunch period. She also told me that she shaved her forearm hair and that I should too.
My mom and I had a lot to talk about that night after she found me in the bathroom with a razor on my arm, delicately trying to determine how to use the device.
My memory though, of you, Elmer glue, is one I'm sure many students expertly tried. With our hands under our desks as our teacher was spelling out "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (just so you know, I totally spelled that correctly on the first try. Our spastic teacher evidently taught me something.), we would slyly twist open your top, squeeze a few precious beads of white goo onto our hands, deftly twist your top closed, and then slide you back into our desks where we stored our precious pencil cases and rubber erasers. Slowly we'd press our sticky hands together, bringing the drops together. Some liked to keep their hands pressed tightly together and experience the satisfying 'crrrrchkssss' sound once you had dried and they pulled their hands apart, but not me. I was unimpressed with this trick. My favorite trick was to allow my hands to dry separate from one another, and once they had reached a satisfying level of dryness, deftly peeling off the edges until I could get an imprint of my skin. Looking at all the cracks and crevices in my skin that you had copied was one of the more fascinating things to me. I would lay my precious glue grafts on top of my desk for observation, intent on knowing these secrets of the universe that you and my skin imprints must contain.