I wrote a website yesterday, and taught a class, and had various bits of correspondence with clients, and then had bells and choir. Today I have papers to grade, and another website to write, and two articles. I’m also hoping to get that book proposal in. Oh, and rehearsal tonight.

Yesterday in class I was talking with the students about the importance of background information. For some reason, I didn’t feel like using the laundromat example (in fact, I am so sure that you already know and are sick of the laundromat example that I’m not even going to describe it), so I told them about the time my former son-in-law described in hilarious detail an event on his submarine involving duct tape dresses. They’re all men there on the sub, so we had some trouble grasping the story. However, it turns out that when a boat crosses the International Dateline (or the equator, or something), it’s customary to party like Mardi Gras. Once we had that essential bit of information, I said, the whole story made sense and our experience of it was completely changed.

I have a military man in the class. I appealed to him to help us on the question of whether it was the equator or some other imaginary line. He didn’t know, not being a sailor. However, he put his finger on an entirely different point which I hadn’t previously considered:

“Why’d they have that much duct tape? Oh, we’ve sprung a leak, grab the duct tape?”

Why, indeed. What is it about duct tape that makes people think it’s magic?