What Metaphor?

Band-aids absorb blood but don’t help the healing process. Duct tape can also stop a leak and is much stronger, but is aesthetically lacking. Super glue though, super glue is used by hospitals in lieu of stitches, dries clear, and will latch on to almost any surface.


Sometimes when a friend is in a bad place, we get out the band-aids. We stop the bleeding but we leave the healing to them. Other times we need to pull a MacGyver, magically whipping out the duct tape, paper clip and bubble gum to stop the nuclear meltdown. But then there are those times when band-aids don’t quite fit the bill, the shape is wrong or the location doesn’t allow adhesion. There are times when the duct tape, for all its strength is still only a souped up band-aid. That’s when we pull out the friendship super glue. We use our calming voice, we reassure the wounds will heal without too much scarring, and we help them get comfortable while the Tylenol kicks in. However, for all the intent to fix, for all the desire to mend, for all the power one drop holds, it doesn’t always hit its target.

Ever tried to fix something with super glue and one drop doesn’t work so you blow on it to dry that attempt and add a little more? When it still doesn’t work, you dry it again—if you’ve got something handy, a nail file or actual sand paper, you may try to re-roughen the area—and add a drop to both sides. You blow lightly hoping to catch just the right moment when it’s tacky but not dry and then slam the broken pieces together and grin—all proud of yourself, for surely it worked this time. Except it didn’t. It won’t. It just slides around and stays broken. And now it’s gooey and you’ve made a mess, and when it dries it’s going to look like a kindergarten art project. Meanwhile, you’ve glued a paper towel and a toothpick to the counter, and are frantically trying to find the fingernail polish remover to separate your fingers. You tried to fix something and failed, miserably, ending up with nothing but your own skin stuck in the mess.

Friends carry band-aids in their back pockets. Friends keep extra rolls of duct tape in their glove boxes. Friends will drive two towns away, or hop on a plane, to find that all-night drug store and get the super glue when you need it most. But sometimes, sometimes, friends can’t fix the break. Can’t heal the wound. Sometimes things are fixable, sometimes they’re just broken. In those instances our band-aids and tape and even super glue is useless. The best we can do is offer a meek smile, a hug, a cup of coffee, a back porch, and hand over the tube of glue… hoping that the friend who needs it will have better luck with it. Or that they’ll understand that sometimes broken is broken and just throw the pieces away.

I have coffee and the equivalent of a back porch. But what I really need right now is some fingernail polish remover…

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