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Getting a grip on gaggles of gloves

Today we are writing about gloves. More and more people have been asking, "When are you going to write about gloves?" Finally that day has arrived, so here goes.

A few weeks ago I was giving my friend Bill a ride to lunch. My leather work gloves were sitting on the passenger seat -- gloves that have fought a flood, planted a small forest, hauled tons of debris to the landfill and tackled all the back breaking mammoth tasks of the homestead. "Work gloves," I pointed out to Bill as I moved them from the seat. "Work gloves... in your car," he said. "Whose are they?" Very funny. If you can't get respect from your friends where you gonna get it?

But what got me thinking seriously about gloves was my razor. I have this super-sharp razor with a rubber grip. But in spite of the rubber grip, when the soap, shaving cream and water get sloshing around, that razor is hard to hang on to and wants to slip away. So, while struggling to shave, the idea of a shaving glove was born.

If a shaving glove sounds like a stupid idea to you, you probably haven't been paying attention to what's been going on in the world of gloves.

You've watched baseball players with their batting gloves. Batters used to do a lot of tobacco chewing, spitting and scratching themselves like puppies. But there must be a new rule about chewing tobacco and scratching because now the batters just play with their gloves between pitches. They loosen them and tighten them hundreds of time in the batter's box. Before there were batting gloves there was dirt and spit for gripping the bat. Did dirt and spit work? Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941 without batting gloves and nobody has gone over .400 since then.

Football receivers wear gloves too, so they don't drop passes. Before gloves they put a sticky goop on their hands called "stickum." But passes were dropped with stickum and they're still being dropped with gloves.

I was happy when dentists started wearing their little rubber gloves to work in my mouth. Before that, they worked bare handed. But I do remember they didn't start wearing those gloves to protect me, they wore them to protect themselves from getting AIDS from me.

Name your favorite most dreaded medical exam. Mine is a prostate exam. Very necessary, but very uncomfortable. Gloves are crucial for this exam. But if I ever see a doctor put on two gloves for that little procedure, I'll be gone before he (always a he for this one) can roll up his sleeves.

Look around -- there are gloves for all jobs. Our downtown mail lady has winter gloves without fingertips for handling the mail. Hunters have gloves with a slot for their trigger finger. Weight lifters wear gloves to make sure they don't drop the big barbells. I have seen one guy who wears workout gloves just for walking laps around a track. Why wear gloves for walking indoors? So he'll always be ready if a football is suddenly thrown his way. There are cute little gloves for gardening, and although I have never actually seen them, I would bet there are gloves for holding on to a leash while walking the dog. Very glamorous I'm sure. Even O. J. Simpson had special gloves for his job, if you recall.

I was walking through a craft display this last weekend and saw a bunch of lettered kitchen cloths and towels. One said, "I love a man" (then pictures of two hands) "with dishpan hands." But nobody needs dishpan hands anymore because of the household gloves they make for doing dishes, painting, cleaning toilets and just about any chore you need to do without actually putting your hands on some repugnant substance.

It's great fun to catch a fish, but how much fun is it to hang on to a slimy northern pike? There are gloves now for handling fish -- catching them and cleaning them.

I was always in awe of my dad's work gloves. He worked all day delivering gas and oil, handling barrels and cans of all varieties of petroleum products. He was lifting, carting, pumping and pouring all day long. But his gloves never got oily or smelly. How did he do that?

Here's a prediction for 2010. Sometime this next year, somebody will develop a new glove for handling just one more task always done barehanded before. I hope it's a shaving glove. But don't be surprised if it's a glove for brushing teeth. There is no end to the possibilities.