Of teeth and glue and low-flying fingers

I spent half an hour the other day trying to rub superglue off my finger with a pumice stone. I had been trying to mend my son's toy plane. It's one of those planes you can wind up by twirling the propellor, but my son decided to cut out the propellor-twirling and just treat the thing as a glider, so he had been flying the poor plane into walls and trees until finally the tail section snapped off. He asked me to mend it. I remembered we had some superglue somewhere ...

What I should have done, I suddenly realised as I rubbed at my finger, was to follow my dentist's tip. It was before Christmas that I last paid a visit to the dentist, a man I always enjoy chatting to as he has a fund of interesting opinions and facts which I can clandestinely recycle into articles. But during one of those enforced bouts of silence where he is concentrating on getting as many fingers as possible into your mouth, I found myself thinking about his gloves. I still haven't quite got used to dentists in gloves. Most professions get more informal as time goes on. Chauffeurs scale down their uniforms and policmen look more casual. But dentists have recently taken to wearing gloves, for the somewhat chilling reason that they do not want to catch HIV infection from their patients (and we do not want to get AIDS from our dentists), and so they pull on these five-fingered contraceptives before delving among our roots.

"What's it like having those gloves on all the time?" I asked him when first I could.

"These?" he said, looking at them as if he had not noticed them before. "Oh, they're great. You get used to them very quickly."

He leant inside my mouth again. When he came out, he said: "I wear them at home a lot."

"?" I said.

"For the mucky side of family life, anyway. There are lots of things you do round the home which make your hands very dirty, meaning you have to spend hours with Swarfega afterwards, but if you wear these gloves there's no problem. Mucking around with the car engine, changing oil, clearing drains, anything messy - then chuck the gloves away ..."

I suddenly thought of the last few times I had had to replace the chain on my bicycle, and how there is no way round getting incredibly oily hands, which is always embarrassing if you have to shake hands with anyone within the next couple of hours.

"Where do you get these gloves from?" I asked.

"Man comes round selling them. Got piles downstairs. Want to buy a box ? Could do you a special price ..."

And that is how I became the proud possessor of a box of 100 Latex Medical Gloves. Non sterile, beaded cuff, ambidextrous, high tensile strength (I am reading from the box now), optimum sensitivity, single use, lightly powdered, made in Malaysia. Oh, and low protein. Why it is good for gloves to be low protein I do not know ...

Since that day I have on several occasions had my bicycle chain come off in the middle of nowhere, and every time I have had the comfort of knowing that I am the sole owner of 100 medical gloves which would have been ideal for the job if only I had remembered to bring them with me, instead of leaving them at home.

So when my son came to me and said, "Dad, the tail's come off the plane again," it was but the matter of a moment to get the superglue and the medical gloves, and at last put them to good use.

"Why are you wearing strangler's gloves, Dad?"

I explained. He was impressed. He took another pair of gloves for himself, and tried to strangle himself. I got to work. Ten minutes later the plane was fixed.

"You can fly the plane again now," I called.

He gave up his strangling experiments, came and took the plane from my hands. As he took it away, a long finger came out from my hand and stretched with the plane.

"Dad," said my son, "your hand is glued to my plane."

"Not my hand," I said. "Only my glove! That was the whole idea! Clever, eh?"

"Not if you're trying to fly it," he said gloomily.

I have to say that it didn't fly very well with a latex glove streaming behind it, though it did look rather good in a surrealist sort of way. Later we tried to peel the glove from the plane. Wouldn't come off. Damned good stuff, superglue. So we snipped and snipped, and now there's only a finger stuck to the plane.

"Why is there a finger on your plane ?" his friends ask him.

"It's an on-board windsock," I have taught him to reply, but I fear his heart is not in it.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Senior SAP MM Consultant, £50,000 - £60,000, Birmingham

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP MM C...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried