Home » Writing » Rubber vs Glue – A Writing Prompt

Rubber vs Glue – A Writing Prompt

“I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say, bounces off me, and sticks to you.”

Karen Craven, over at Table for One, wrote the above quote in one of her posts and it really struck a chord with me.  Next thing you know, we are exchanging ideas with Marc over at Sorryless and two prompts were born.  The second one is: “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys”.   Since we have no designated word count, nor any designated time frame, we each have gone with the one that inspired us first.  Karen has gone with “Rubber” and Marc, “Circus“.  Do go and check out what they’ve written.  They are both brilliant writers!

Rubber vs Glue

We visited Auntie Lou in Hamilton, a.k.a. Steeltown, quite often.  Sometimes without even planning it.  Like that time when there was a party at our house and there was lots of laughing and drinking and smoking and we were sent to bed but no one checked up on us so we snuck into the hallway and listened in on what was going on.  Daddy decided to call Auntie Lou just to say hey and before we knew it, we heard “Pack up, girls, we’re going for a ride!”  It was 10 o’clock at night.  Driving to Auntie Lou’s was a six-hour drive and we showed up on her doorstep at 4 o’clock in the morning.  Those were some crazy times.

One of the best times we went though, was when my cousin, Matt, Auntie Lou’s son, got married and we were all invited.  It was so cool.  We three sisters had matching long dresses but in different colours.  We were so pretty. So was Mommy in her long dress and Daddy so handsome in his tux.  I can’t remember much of the wedding itself except those dresses.

Since Hamilton was so close to Niagara Falls, the next day we piled into our car and some aunts and uncles and cousins piled into theirs and we all took that one-hour drive.  I loved going there.  Got to go up to the top of the CN Tower, had our picture taken by a weird printer-thing and of course, saw the Falls.  They were so loud.  Like thunder.  And we could feel the mist on our faces.  We weren’t allowed to go on the boat that goes right up to the falls but that’s okay.  Maybe next time.

As we were walking along, Daddy turned to me and said:  “Kiss me, Babe!”  And with a big smile on my face, I ran over to him and gave him a big smooch right on the cheek.  He then said:  “Nothing makes me sick!”

I stepped back, my eyes filled with tears and I just stood there.  I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.  Daddy saw my face and said:  “Aww, come on now, Honey.  I was only joking.”

I let him hug me, laughed it off, and pretended to let the whole thing bounce right off me like a rubber ball.

Except it didn’t.  For years I pushed that part of that memory aside.  Or I thought I had.  I was convinced I had let it go.  But years later,  “Nothing makes me sick” would pop back into my head.  Stuck like glue to a part of me.  Reminding me I was not good enough.  I was lacking.  Chipping away at what little confidence I did have in myself.

Years later, I confronted my father with it.  “Do you remember, Dad, that time in Niagara Falls when you told me to kiss you and then you told me nothing made you sick?  Do you have any idea what that did to me?  How much that hurt me and made me feel so ‘less than’?”

“Oh come on.  You can’t be serious.  That was just a joke.  You can’t still be thinking of that today.”

He never understood that someone, who already believed she was an ugly duckling, could find such a supposed joke hurtful and he never did apologize for saying it.

But on his deathbed, I forgave him.  For myself.

And now, whenever I feel someone is throwing something at me that I don’t deserve, I repeat:

“I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say, bounces off of me and sticks to you.”





41 thoughts on “Rubber vs Glue – A Writing Prompt

  1. Wow, this was powerful Dale..a very similar thing happened to me too as a young girl and it stays with you for a very long time..as I get older though my confidence and courage gets stronger. And by the way I consider you a goddess! 🙂

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  2. Dear Dale,

    “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” was second to “I’m rubber, you’re glue…” Alas, words’ woundings go deeper and leave unseen scars that often never heal.
    Well thanks. You made me cry into my coffee this morning. First I have trouble thinking of you as an ugly duckling…save the beautiful, magnificent swan you’ve become.
    I have a similar story, I may have told you…early in our marriage we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on holiday gifts. I spent hours doing sketches and decoupaging them on wooden plaques. I gave one to my dad with his caricature on it. I think he liked it well enough, but his “joke” still hurts. “It must be nice to be so talented…and so cheap.”
    At any rate, wonderful story…from wonderful you.



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    • Dear Rochelle,

      That was the biggest lie we were ever told. Though I am sure the reason for teaching it was for us to learn how to let hurtful things deflect off us. Didn’t always work, did it?
      I had no intention of making your cry, that’s for sure! But the fact you did, touches me because you felt for her, I mean, me. Trust me, I was all legs and buck teeth. And I thank you… am blushing horribly now!
      Yes, you did tell me and I wanted to smack your father myself. I, not because I am cheap, prefer to give gifts I made (usually food, coz, well, I ain’t no Rochelle). And they are usually well received but you know there are some who don’t realise it takes more love to make something than to spend big bucks on something that will collect dust in the back of a shelf.
      Thank you, my wonderful friend!

      Lotsa love and shared tears,



  3. This SO did not go where I thought it was going, and wow to that!
    You have encapsulated a moment so vividly, using the falls as a backdrop, to show the chasm that exists in perception sometimes. And those moments, how we carry them with us, These moments remain crystalline in our consciousness no matter how much time passes.
    And your decision to let go of that moment and the hurt it prospered, that right there is a life lesson.
    You were right! This story really came together, Q, and I love it.

    Peace and prompts


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    • Thank you, Marco.
      Yay! I love when that happens… and to get a wow for it, to boot? Major yays.
      And Wow for what you saw in my story. I love when a reader points out things I had no conscious hand in putting there.
      I wonder why everyone knows the story is mine? And yes, there are those moments that remain crystalline and will never go away fully. You can let them not hurt you anymore but you can’t totally forget them.
      I’m so very glad you felt it came together, B.
      Love and memories and prompts

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      • I loved the warm hug feeling this story evokes. When you talk about everyone piling in for an adventure. I remember those times with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins. It was really great stuff,, and it feels as if it all happened inside another life time now!

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  4. I know you like writing stories that involve your personal experiences. Like Marc, this didn’t go where I expected – nonetheless, another life lesson. Then again, that’s what life seems to do … and it has a way of finding times that humble us – cause us to pause – cause us to forgive. Forgiveness is so powerful! Well done, Dale!

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  5. Pingback: Writing Prompt | Rosaries, monkeys, and circuses – Table for One

  6. Of course it was your own experience. We express best what we know best…. I once, totally innocently and with the best intentions, made my brother very unhappy with me. When his much beloved cat died, I DIY’d a condolence card and wrote it as if it were for a beloved human being…. I still, up to today, don’t know what made him react as he did then: I hope that one day somebody as beloved as my cat will happen to you and then you’ll see what you did….. That was over 25yrs ago and the mystery remains. The thing is, he doesn’t know what I’m talking about and it’s me who can’t forget it!!!

    You are growing up, love. When you’re at the point when you can say: OK, you hurt me but I can and DO forgive you – then you are becoming a wise and complete person. You can still be funny, silly, often stupid, but you are SOLID on the inside. I know …. I’ve been there and I’m more alive than ever (now)!

    HAPPY SPRING BEGIN – the season of flowers, bird song, the return of the storks and pollen…. and our 20th wedding anniversary, celebrated with a bottle of champagne, a modest lunch – amidst our own daffs, tulips, narcisses, even geraniums and a ‘daisy-tree’ in a pot of last year – in our veranda (sans gloves, hats, just a warm top!!!). Glorious moments to be cherished 🙂

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    • Yes… a mix of three memories melded into one. That’s the crazy thing. Sometimes we keep a memory like that stuck inside and the person , like your brother, has no recollection of it! Talk about wasting energy…

      I like to think so! There are things that stick but as a rule, one must learn to overcome them and yes, become even more solid.

      And Happy Anniversary on this beginning of Spring! We won’t be seeing our daffs, tulips, or anything pretty for a good while yet. Sigh. Though, it is a mere -2C today… no gloves, for a little while anyway! Enjoy your day!

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