I could have anticipated the Great Glue Crisis of 2017 if I’d read everything on BuzzFeed. But I can’t. Dumb ’n’ Young is not my demographic.
It’s a parade of giggling inanity: Pick your favorite Disney princess sidekick and we’ll tell you what your mortgage rate would have been if you were alive in 1957! Or: Everyone is losing it over a corgi that burped at the Queen. Or: There is a cult that worships a vial of Beyoncé’s drool.
I admit: One headline caught my eye, but I still refused to click on it. The more BuzzFeed you read, the dumber you get, until you get in your car and it doesn’t go and you can’t figure out why. “Oh, right, I have to turn the key.” Only ’90s kids will understand.
If I’d clicked, I would have known what to say when my wife asked a perfectly ordinary question: “Do we have any glue?”
In my head: Of course. We have J-B Weld, which is useful for gluing ceramic to wood, in case I want to attach a toilet to the side of a barn. I have some Super Glue, but I probably can’t get the cap off. It’s as if it’s been super-glued in place.
I have some ceramic epoxy. And of course there’s magnetism and all the other forces that bind the universe together and keep everything from flying apart. Honey, we’ve got glue coming out of our ears.
“Elmer’s Glue,” she added. Turns out she needed it as a prop for an office event.
It was 9 p.m. I was on a mission. Got to get glue for Wife’s office event. Get out of my way! Lights and sirens!
The drugstore was deserted. The clerk at the counter sized me up: too old for Pedialyte, too young for laxative, probably NyQuil.
“Glue?” I said. “Basic white glue.” He pointed to the glue aisle. There was a slot where the basic white glue should be.
“You’re out of it,” I said as I leave. He shrugs, thinking, “Yet somehow I will sleep tonight.”
I go to the grocery store, where there might as well be a sign “Glue, Yes, But a Dollar More.” Anything they sell that you can’t eat, you know the markup’s huge. “Glue?” I asked a stock boy. “Basic white, you know, Elmer. The Bull. Elsie’s spouse.”
He nodded. Of course, the iconic bull-branded fluid. He led me to a shelf I had never noticed before, and it has glue sticks, Super Glue, mucilage, scissors, erasers — and a big vacant spot where the white glue should be.
“Huh,” he said. And I echo the sentiments. What is this? Everyone decide to start sniffing glue, but they want to ease into it? Just a whiff of Elmer’s now and then to take the edge off, man. I can handle it.
I go to Cub. While I’m there I pick up an avocado and a box of trash bags, which makes me wonder what the clerk will conclude.
“Bet you think I’m on a scavenger hunt!”
“These odd, unrelated purchases! Ha ha. See, my wife ... ”
“Nine dollars and 47 cents, please.”
But they didn’t have any white Elmer’s Glue. There was a spot on the shelf. Cleaned out.
I picked up Daughter from the gym and said I had failed completely in my glue quest. It made no sense. Where did glue come from? Horse hoofs. Is there a dead horse shortage? Apparently horses are living longer thanks to advances in vet medicine, and this means glue will be scarce. Call the broker tomorrow! Short the glue stocks. Or is it long them? OK, long the glue. And buy horse futures.
“Have you seen the slime thing?” Daughter said.
Everything clicked. I suddenly recalled the BuzzFeed headline about teens on Instagram making multicolored slime. I had not read the story because I am a grown man with a mortgage. “It takes a lot of glue to make,” she said.
“That’s it! That’s why there’s no glue to be had!”
“Did you get the glue?” Wife asked when I came home.
“No, but now I understand that stupid news article I scrolled past. It’s the Instagram slime craze.”
She gave me an incredulous look, and I felt annoyed.
“Really,” I asked, “do I have to explain everything?”