Gaffer Tape: I wouldn’t say there’s nothing it can’t fix, but you’d be a fool to let yourself run out.

A few weeks ago I bought a pair of cheap boots I thought I was really going to like. Unlike (what was supposed to be) this year’s official Boot Buy, which I made online and instantly regretted, these boots were feather-light and the right one fit my meat foot like it was made from a plaster mold.

Unfortunately the left one wouldn’t go on at all. I didn’t think it would be a big problem: since I have no left ankle for toe-pointing, newly-bought left boots often need a bit of, er, adjustment right at first. For example, gussets on the sides of the tongue go in and out of style; if new boots have them, I slice them right off the left boot. That by itself will usually solve any problem in getting the boot on and off, though a shoehorn is still handy. So I didn’t expect any problem.

But even with everything eased, I couldn’t get the boot on my foot. I’ve got an industrial-strength shoehorn: If all else fails, force prevails. And this required a very great deal of force. So much that I really should have stopped and re-analyzed the problem. It was like there was something in the boot preventing the insertion of the foot – except there wasn’t.

Well…there wasn’t until I stuck the foot into the boot. I’ve mentioned before that the carbon fiber keel long ago broke right through the material of the “foot” that’s stuck on my foot to give it a foot-like shape that will accommodate shoes. Well, in this case that little flap below the keel had folded right over backward without my knowledge. And when I applied a great deal of force, the shoehorn won. Couldn’t quite figure out at first why the shoe didn’t want to sit flat on the ground, though…

And once I’d figured it out, of course there was only one action to take…

Gaffer tape, most commonly sold as Gorilla Tape, is just heavy-duty duct tape and if you ever let yourself run out of it I question your serious intent. It won’t fix everything. Almost, very nearly, but not everything. In nearly 45 years of life as an amputee this is far from the first time I’ve wrapped some around a misbehaving foot.

The foot now goes into the boot quite nicely.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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3 Responses to Gaffer Tape: I wouldn’t say there’s nothing it can’t fix, but you’d be a fool to let yourself run out.

  1. Malatrope says:

    Sir, I must take issue with you, which I rarely do. Gorilla tape is NOT gaffer tape, it’s just heavier duct tape. The difference between gaffer and duct tape is the type of adhesive. Duct tape, in all its lugubrious forms, dissolves over time into a sticky gooey disgusting gucky mess that is impossible to clean up without serious chemicals. Gaffer tape just pulls off, and leaves nothing behind. Gaffers (film support crew who tape everything down, like cables, cameras, lights and so forth) have to use a tape that doesn’t leave a residue because the people who own the house they are borrowing for a film shoot will sue their asses for the cleanup if it does.

  2. Joel says:

    Won’t argue that, you’re probably right. The only gaffer tape from actual gaffers I ever used was pretty much indistinguishable from Gorilla tape, but I never let it sit long enough to see what the adhesive did.

  3. Dregan says:

    The other big difference is that *real* gaffers tape costs $17/roll.

    I never worked on a film set, but in a theater setting, we could go through a few roll a day setting up.

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