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Work-Life Balance, a Sticky Situation

It’s the role of those of us in the blogosphere to make a connection where perhaps others would not see a connection at all. Such is the case today, April 6. For this was the day, back in 1938, that Teflon was invented. Roy J. Plunkett, while an employee at DuPont, invented polytetraflouroethylene resin, and by the time of his death in 1994, it was coating seventy-five percent of the pots and pans in America.

It’s the role of those of us in the blogosphere to make a connection where perhaps others would not see a connection at all. Such is the case today, April 6. For this was the day, back in 1938, that Teflon was invented. Roy J. Plunkett, while an employee at DuPont, invented polytetraflouroethylene resin, and by the time of his death in 1994, it was coating seventy-five percent of the pots and pans in America.

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The use of Teflon as a metaphor is fairly ubiquitous. We even called Ronald Reagan the Teflon President. I don’t know what to call G.W. Bush, but since it usually takes him being hit on the head with a frying pan, Teflon or not, to admit he’s wrong, we can keep it in the cookware ball park. In any case, Teflon is now a word that indicates things sliding right off, leaving no impression on the surface with which they interact. So (cue dramatic music sting here) is it a coincidence, then, that the invention of Teflon and the growing work-life balance movement have occurred simultaneously? (Go ahead, add another dramatic music sting. Dum-dum-dum.) (I know you all want to add a “b” to the end of all those d-u-m’s, but wait until the end. I’m just getting started on my ridiculous theory, here. )

See, prior to Teflon, the concept of things not sticking to other things was unheard of. People were predisposed to think that anything, be it the remnants of a pork chop on your skillet, or the arms of your children as they hugged you each night, could leave an impression. It was part of our consciousness to think of things as lasting, as remaining with us even after we have cooked/worked with/touched them. Thus, love and family stayed with us, alongside our growing industrial economy.

Then, Teflon introduces us to the concept that nothing need stay very long in any given circumstance (or, in this case, on any polytetraflouroethylene-treated surface), and before you know it, the idea of lingering, of something having lasting importance, begins to slowly weaken as a concept in the greater society. Until we end up where we are today, wondering why we have lost our center, and trying to achieve as much as Donald Trump, a guy with, coincidentally, Teflon hair.

Well, that’s my theory. It’s not supported by science, or even any facts or case studies, but heck, Fox News has been running strong on that ticket for quite a few years.