by Robert Adcox
You know that clear plastic film that covers new electronic gadgets? I’m talking about that stuff we’re supposed to peel off but never do. What is this stuff, anyway? Is it automotive window tint material that was somehow rejected? I ask, because way back when I was a late-blooming hot-rodder I once tried to affix something similar to the windows of my beloved ’71 Charger. Apparently, the only difference is that the stuff I was smearing all over the inside of the windows was tinted and didn’t stick to anything except dead bugs and dust.
Mind you, I DID wash those windows until you could perform surgery on them. This marvelous space-age material peeled out faster than Marsha’s flipflops, figuratively speaking. I ended up tossing $20.95 worth of glorified Saran Wrap in the apartment dumpster because, apparently, I was the only hot-rodder in Dona Ana County who couldn’t quite master the four inch squeegee that came with the kit extolling the virtues of freshly darkened glass. (“Guaranteed to reduce the heat of your interior by up to 20%”, I’ll have you know.)
Today (long after the Charger has since been recycled into a new refrigerator for some accountant in Akron), I find myself shaking like a leaf due to the ten square inches of failed window tint which adorns this keyboard so it wouldn’t get scratched or dinged during shipping from Beijing. Perspiration frames my face as if it were an 8 X 10 glossy from Hollywood. Having plugged in my new keyboard, I spy something out of the ordinary. At first I assume that it’s simply part of the design. Closer inspection, however, reveals something far more sinister: the keyboard, at first appearing to be moulded in glossy plastic, is matte. The shine is from . . . the dreaded plastic sheeting. I learn this by what appears to be a bubble forming on the frame over by the space bar.
The little bubble, at first innocuous in appearance, brings with it a whole host of troubling memories. First, in my attempts to apply the window tint I ran across instructions apparently written by a technical writer distracted by concerns regarding cubicle mates hogging the printer or whether or not there would be doughnuts at the staff meeting on Thursday. “Apply squeegee following liberal amounts of soapy water to dirty window which must be cleaned prior to applying squeegee” preceded a requisite call to the manufacturer. While on hold, I look out my apartment window just in time to see the entire sheet of tint peeling off of the rear window like a melting polar ice cap sped up by a factor of four thousand. My interior, once proudly spiffed up by that wonderful vinyl protectant we’ve all used at one time or another, is now half-covered in sheets of tint which have all rolled off of every window and are now redefining the topography of the seats. Recognizing that I couldn’t win, I deftly removed all vestiges of this psychological warfare in a cardboard box and relocated it to the dumpster.
As for the sheet of plastic film adorning my keyboard, I think I may leave it. Sure, it brings back memories of that fateful day when three hours were spent in abject misery – and that little air bubble under the space bar looks kind of bad. Despite this, I have come to accept that there’s something irresistible about new electronic gadgets staying wrapped in failed window tint.
Maybe it helps them with that “new gadget” smell.