To paraphrase the ramblings of comedian Demetri Martin, glitter is the stigmatized viral disease of craft supplies.
Don’t get me wrong, I really do like glitter. Not in the Edward Cullen sense, but as far as the elementary art room industry is concerned, I think glitter is an excellent institution.
If you disagree with that statement, you’re probably an elementary school art teacher.
That’s because once glitter has been released from its protectively sealed plastic container, it effectively contaminates the entire atmosphere around it and then begins its systematic journey to every corner of the building and beyond.
It’s like a shimmering bubonic plague; the Black Death’s sparkling cousin. You don’t get oozing sores. You just get bedazzled.
We had a major outbreak of this at our house that began a couple of months ago.
It all started with putting up the Christmas tree, which, as a side note, lasted a matter of minutes once our cat Simba got ahold of it.
Several of the (shatterproof) ornaments wife Hanna and I had purchased to hang on the tree were basically plastic balls that had been submerged in a vat of watery glue and rolled around in a pile of glitter.
I should have known better.
As instructed by the World Heath Organization, we washed our hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water after hanging the decorations, but our house was already contaminated with its first case of the glitters.
The situation only worsened days later when I decided it was time to start wrapping gifts to put under the tree. I grabbed my favorite new roll of paper—a crisp, retro, silver and light green motif with slender reindeer, geometric Christmas trees and sharp, thin snowflakes.
However, what I didn’t know was that the shimmer of the design was not created by the type of foil wrapping paper I was used to, but glitter. Lots and lots of glitter.
As I tore back the plastic seal, I was covered in a glitzy eruption, the likes of which haven’t been seen since at least the era of disco.
I attempted to wrap one gift before admitting the defeat. The table was covered in glitter. The floor was covered in glitter. I was covered in glitter.
In fact, the only thing that wasn’t covered in glitter was the wrapping paper, because one the key physical characteristics of glitter is that it will never adhere to the object for which it is intended.
Insult was only added to injury days later when we got a card in the mail from Hanna’s grandparents. She pulled it out to read it, but quickly shoved it back in the envelope.
“Don’t touch it,” she said. “It’s full of glitter.”
But the damage had already be done. It looked as if a unicorn had exploded in the last sacred, glitter-free refuge we had left: my car.
I bring all this up now, almost a month after Christmas, because the effect of the glitter pandemic is still rearing its sparkling head.
Science teaches us that glitter, like all matter on earth, does not simply go away. It stays with us in one form or another.
Sure, it starts as a decorative ornament. But it gets on your hands. And then you absentmindedly touch your face or wipe it on your shirt, and before you know it you have glitter on your furniture, on your bath towel, in your bed and inside your refrigerator.
It shows up in your pocket and in your food. I’m still digging it out of Simba’s kitty litter.
And this will continue for months, gradually decreasing as some of it makes its way out the door or into the vacuum cleaner, but omnipresent all the same.
I wish I could say there may still be a glimmer of hope, but the irony of that statement is too much to bear.