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What Do Duct Tape, a Toyota Prius, and Miracles Have in Common?

photo: Roger H. Goun on flickr

Why is it that duct tape and extreme situations are often paired together?

Earthquakes? Duct tape.

Hurricanes? Duct tape.

Non-stop talkers? Duct tape.

In my case, the situation isn’t quite as extreme:

It started with my Prius.

photo: z egloff

That’s right, I’m a Prius owner. In case you’ve never met one of my kind, we’re extremely proud of our vehicles. So much so, the Prius is also known as the Pious.

Call it what you like, we Prius owners don’t care. We’re in love with our cars. And our cars return this love with extreme reliability and killer gas mileage.

But one day, my little love bug took a hit.

I’m not sure how it happened, but when I went outside to get in my car, my sideview mirror looked like this:

photo: z egloff

Yikes! How could it be?! My angel was maimed.

Normally, I’d take her into the shop right away, but I’d just taken her in for a tune up. It takes time to drop her off at the shop, get a ride home, get a ride back, pick her up again. But at that time in my life, I was really, really, really busy. I was in school, I was writing, Melissa and I were doing all kinds of fun projects, like metaphysical nerd raps.

I didn’t want to take the time to get her fixed, but I also didn’t want to drive around with a maimed Pious.

What to do?

And that’s when I remembered the chart. The one I saw online. It looks like this:

My angel’s sideview mirror was flapping in the wind. She had a moving part that wasn’t supposed to move. But now I had the answer:

Duct tape!

We didn’t have any black duct tape, so I rushed to the hardware store and bought some. I was so excited! I know it’s just duct tape, but it is – as the chart points out – the answer to half the world’s problems.

And now I was in possession of some.

I rushed home, tore off strips of the appropriate length and width, and wrapped them around my angel’s sideview mirror.

And, just like that, she was all new!

photo: z egloff

Well, she was wrapped with duct tape, which isn’t the usual look for a new vehicle, but she was new in spirit. And that’s all that mattered.

As the days went on, I discovered that the duct tape repair worked pretty well. Except when it didn’t.

Like when Melissa bumped against my handiwork and the whole thing fell apart. I had to get out some more tape and fix her up again.

Then it rained, and the duct tape freaked out and fell apart. I was too lazy to get some new strips of tape, so I kept rewrapping the old tape around the mirror, trying to get it to stick.

It was during this Lazy Period that I was driving my angel around town.

The duct tape had been intact when I’d left my house. But the ride on the freeway had caused the tape to freak out once again, and now my sideview mirror was dangling off the side of my car like it was considering making a run for it.

There I was, sitting at a red light, feeling extremely embarrassed about allowing my angel to be seen in such a state.

What did this say about me, as an owner of a Pious? Had I no pride?! How could I let my angel parade around town with her parts hanging all over the place?

photo: karl frankowski on flickr

And that’s when I saw it.

There, in the lane next to me, was a white sedan. And not just any old white sedan. Oh no.

This was a white sedan with white duct tape wrapped around the passenger-side mirror.

I could hardly believe my eyes.

It was the Ivory to my Ebony! The Yin to my Yang! The White Knight to my Dark Lord!

It was like Spirit had parted the clouds and come forth to deliver me a message:

Yes, your Pious isn’t perfect, but neither are you. Neither is anyone. The beauty of being human is embracing your imperfections. Celebrating them. Why do you think I invented duct tape in the first place?

photo: Timothy Tolle on flickr

Yes, there have been greater miracles in the history of the world, but I’ll take my little Duct Tape Miracle any day.

It made me relax. It made me laugh. It reminded me that I’m not alone. That I’m patched up with duct tape, just like everyone else on this planet.

Yes, I took my Pious to be fixed, eventually.

But before I did, I wore my duct-taped mirror like a badge of honor. Like those Indian tapestries that put in mistakes on purpose, to remind us that “imperfection” is woven into the fabric of human experience.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say that my Pious purposely busted her mirror, just to teach me this lesson.

Indeed, perhaps that’s the deeper truth behind this little story:

Everything on earth is imperfect. Except the Prius.

photo: TechShowNetwork on flickr

How do you handle imperfection? And what part does duct tape play in this process?

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13 Responses to What Do Duct Tape, a Toyota Prius, and Miracles Have in Common?

  1. River December 18, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    Z,
    First here is a get well wish to Angel, the Pious..er uh Prius! I know for Angel that her clipped wing is only an illusion and that she is complete, whole and free (sorta!).

    Second, this one, imperfections, is a toughy for me. I used to do the ostrich method – just not see the imperfection and pretend it didn’t exist. This usually got me a big ole bite on my gluteus and then it would just be there meaner and uglier than before.
    I tried the “Im a victim of _______ (fill in the blank appropriately )” which is done in a high pitch whine. Gets old fast and is so annoying and boring after a bit.
    But the best one is to just look at it. Yep, its there alrighty! Then I take a deep breath and say to self, it is what it is and so thanks for the lesson. (I think maybe this is the short form of prayer.) Seems to work. Eventually just enough grace and acceptance and whatever it was seems to get smaller and smaller until it all becomes small stuff.

    Ever a fan in Z-land,
    River

    • Z Egloff December 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      Hi River,

      Acceptance is an amazing thing, isn’t it? I always find it paradoxical that by really looking at something, and breathing, and accepting it, everything starts to shift. Just another one of the amazing things about this life we’re living.

      Thank you for stopping by! I hope you are having a jolly Holiday time! :)

      XOZ

  2. Karen Norton December 18, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Hi Z,
    You are always entertaining. I love your blog and it’s the only one I read. Here’s my offer: when you are ready to take your angel into the doll factory to get her clipped wing repaired, I will give you a ride one way. Or maybe two-what the heck, it’s Christmas time! Love you, Karen

    • Z Egloff December 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

      Hi Karen,

      Thank you for reading and thank you for commenting! And thank you for your offer. I just might take you up on it! :)

      XOZ

  3. Diana Smith December 18, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    OMG Z, Your experience was so reminiscent of mine of several years ago. I so laughed in reading your blog and hearing my story…this was like a great 12 step meeting experience…I had a white Toyota Matrix, not a Prius, but I loved her just as much…Her name was Harmony Grace, my white angel…Anyway..She to got one of tiny white wings banged up and I too just had gotten her out of the shop, so orchestrating her repairs was placed on pause. Her broken wing hanging there was pitiful. I was reminded by a friend that duct tape fixes everything. My only relationship was with gray duct tape….not on my white baby…No way, I could not draw that kind of attention to her boo boo or nor bring attention to a proud owner form of negligence…until I was reminded that I needed to get in step with the 21st century, how could I not know that duct tape now came in a variety of colors…Really!!! White duct tape,! Who brilliantly thot that up? Off to the hardware store…and I became the lucky recipient of the last roll of white duct tape on the shelf. HG was fixed up in no time, looking proud with her well bandaged, almost inconspicuous, wing repaired, for now. She too needed to be refortified or retaped several times as the elements seemed to break down the that seemingly indestructable duct tape…until many months later, she got a new wing….and I got a whole new perspective on my disguising my own boo boos, inside and out, trusting the power of duct tape, and the many resources to support me,until I am ready for the needed belief repairs or overhaul. Thanks z for the memories and starting my day off with a smile. Another spiritual lesson brought to us by your magnificent sense of humor…as always it hits home, this time not just a similar experience…almost exact same experience…reading your blog , deepened my own as I reflected on the lessons brought to me thru the “power” of duct tape. My God shows up in the darndest disguises! Cheers and many blessings,
    Diana

    • Z Egloff December 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

      Hi Diana,

      Thank you for sharing your experience! I agree with you that this particular post could spark a little 12-step program among car/duct tape survivors. 😉

      I love hearing what you went through, including how you came out the other side enrichened by the experience. Including your increased knowledge about the true power of duct tape. I will never look at another duct-taped vehicle the same way again!

      Blessings to you and thanks for stopping by!

      XOZ

  4. Karen December 18, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Oh my gosh, I so resonate! Mark and I became the proud parents of Priscilla Prius just last summer, and we absolutely love her. We have 15,000 miles on her already, and the gas has cost only $44. (Well, slight exaggeration.) :)

    Anyhow, Priscilla doesn’t yet have any booboos requiring the miracle of duct tape, but our other vehicle, Toy Boy Toyota, has duct tape on his rear where there’s a crack in his taillight. Toy Boy has 300,000 miles on him, and we’re probably not going to fix his rump anytime soon.

    Son Joel got a used red Acura while still in high school in Oregon. He drove it back and forth to college in Indiana and then to law school in Miami. When we went to his law school graduation, there was Andy Acura with his front bumper held on with (you guessed it) our old friend duct tape — LOTS of it. Rolls of it.

    I love your Prius and duct tape experience, Z. You’re right, none of us is perfect, although my Priscilla comes pretty darn close.

    • Z Egloff December 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      Hi Karen,

      I love these stories. I love all the names as well! :)

      Priscilla is a wonderful name for a Prius! It just sounds so . . . perfect. And congrats on those 300,000 K miles on Toy Boy. Though he is a Toyota, so it shouldn’t totally surprise me.

      I know that even if Priscilla should have any experience that leaves her looking anything less than perfect, this will only be an illusion. For she is, and will always be, perfection itself. 😉

      XOZ

  5. Janet December 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    I just got around to reading this one…love it, Z! My Sentra (yes a lowly Nissan, but a trusty companion, named Vanna White) had a wounded wing, caused by yours truly, who had through inattention, torn off said member, backing away from the mailbox. In my defense, I had spent the whole day writing for pure pleasure, and was on quite the high…I’m sure you can relate to that enlightened state. There is no duct tape in this story, but I had to respond, because your version of the engineer’s flowchart is missing an element: vise grips. I have had several engineer spouses who assured me that anything could be fixed with duct tape, WD-40, and vise grips.

    • Z Egloff December 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      Hi Janet,

      I love how everyone has these wonderful names for their vehicles. Vanna White – yeah! :)

      I understand the writer’s high, and I can see why the wing-wounding happened.

      As for the vise grips, this makes perfect sense to me. It ties everything together. I did see another flow chart with a third element – but it was beer. I elected not to post it. 😉

      XOZ

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