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Facts About Gel, Gloop, and Other Semi-Viscous Substance You May Have Encountered Recently

Michael Canfield writes about monsters, superheroes, couples, bank robbers, babies, astronauts, paranoids, background artists, hobbyists, and other people. He has published mystery, fantasy, science fiction, horror and just-plain-odd stories in StrangeHorizons.com, futurismic.com, EscapePod.com, M-Brane SF, in dead-tree magazines including Black Gate, Talebones, Realms of Fantasy, Flytrap, and other places. His story "Super-Villains" was reprinted in the prestigious Fantasy: The Year's Best series, edited by Rich Horton (Prime Books). Born in Las Vegas, he now lives, works, plays, writes, and watches television in Seattle's International District. Visit his website at www.michaelcanfield.net.

The first thing you need to understand about gel, is that there is no reason, at this point, to assume it is in any way harmful. Certainly, if you were to slip in it, fall and injure yourself, that would be bad. So tread carefully. Avoid stepping in gel especially; it is the slipperiest new substance. Gloop is a bit thicker, it has a sort of syrupy, marshmallow-like texture, at least as compared to gloop, but nevertheless--tread carefully. The same applies to gunk, gack, gludge, fludge, and frunk, but we do not have space here to address these relatively rarer varieties of new substance. If necessary, a supplement to this document will be created later. The present document will, from this point forward, confine itself to gel and gloop.
Grass grows under gel, and while it does die under gloop, this is most likely due to gloop's property of opacity, which ranges from roughly 88-94%. Grass, due to the nature of photosynthesis, requires sunlight, which it cannot get when covered in gloop.
Gel ranges from 21-25% opacity, or 75-79% transparency, and this appears to be adequate for photosynthesis. So if gel covers your lawn don't despair!
Gloop however, will result in the need for reseeding if at some point it becomes possible to have your yard cleared of it. We are working all the time on ways to remove gloop and gel, (more about that later) but please know also that we are always open to new suggestions from any quarter. We're available Mon-Fri 8-4:30 Central Time, and by email at any hour of the day or night. You can also join our facebook fan page or follow us on twitter for the most up-to-date information. Our contact information is given at the end of this document, and we genuinely enjoy hearing from you. Even complaints!
Another suggestion for the owner of a lawn under gloop is to create a rock garden. The white color of most gloop contrasts nicely with reddish or black stones. Use large stones. Pebble gardens can themselves become buried under gloop, as the substance has been documented continuing to rise as much as four inches above the original thickness at which it has appeared in any given locale. This rising can take place over the course of several months. So again, use large stones, or you may find the need to lay down another rock garden sooner than you would like.
Do not eat gel or gloop. While it has never been demonstrated that accidentally ingesting small amounts of new substance has caused any long-term harm, neither gel nor gloop has any nutritional value, nor to speak frankly, and rumors notwithstanding, does it have any narcotic properties. Typically, animals will not eat gel or gloop, so your pets are safe. Infants and small children, however, have been known to consume either variety of substance while left unsupervised. Again, there is not one single documented case of serious poisoning through ingestion of any new substance. However, it is the position of the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) that, at least until further study is completed, ingesting new substance should be avoided, and we accept these rulings. Do not eat these things.
While consumption of gel and gloop is easily avoidable, some contact with skin and clothing is less so. You will get gel and gloop on your skin, and certainly on your clothes, from time to time, and you need to be prepared for this. It can be frustrating (especially if you're the one who does the laundry in the house!) but again, it is not dangerous.
Gel is cool to the touch and slippery, but we caution against its use as a sexual lubricant. Of course, we cannot stop you from engaging in such a use, and again, there is no known health risk to doing so, but gel was not created for this purpose. Gloop, needless to say, would not be useful as a lubricant of any kind, and it is unlikely any warning against such use is needed. However, just in case: Don't do it!
Many people do ask us why gel and gloop were created. The specific answer to the question contains proprietary information that cannot be shared at this time. However, we can say this. New substance was created in the pursuit of a higher standard of living for all. Our company has always been committed to making a better world, but even the best intentions may, at times, involve setbacks. We know that gloop and gel are setbacks, and we are committed to working hard, alongside civilian government agencies, responsible citizens groups, and the military, toward viable and economically-prudent solutions to their spread. Several years ago a privately-funded activist group released a study which famously predicted that, by now, three-quarters of the Earth's land mass would have been covered in gel, gloop, and related substance.
However, the reality is that today no more than 42% of the planet's arable lands are covered. And the spread of gel and gloop is slowing all the time. At this rate, the world will not be entirely covered in new substance for at least another decade. If you think back on the changes in the world over the last ten years, you'll realize what a long time that is, and how much can be accomplished in such a period.
Nevertheless, we are committed to ending this so-called crisis. Our facilities have postulated several new products that, we feel, represent the best chance yet toward retarding, and perhaps eradicating, gel and gloop. The R&D for these counter-substance solutions has not come cheap, but we are committed to making them available. That is why it is essential you contact your congressional representatives and tell them you support passage of the current emergency funding bill. Without this aid, we cannot assure development of these promising new solutions, nor is it likely we would be able to make them available in sufficient quantity, and in timely fashion, if they are developed.
We take full responsibility for this challenge, and we believe, with the support of the American people, we will rise to it, as long as we are able to obtain funding to do so.
We are not the enemy. We are your friends, your neighbors, your community. We are you. And, if you're willing to give us your help, we'll be able to help you too.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Author Comments

This was a "gimme"--a story that practically wrote itself. Everyone who has held a day job in the past few decades has probably had many occasions to marvel at the wondrous uses large companies manage to put language to, and also at many of those same organizations' inventiveness in finding new ways to remain viable in such dynamic and challenging marketing environments such as we find ourselves in today. Besides the shining examples readily available from standard news sources, particularly those covering the financial sector, I'm also indebted to Barbara Ehrenreich's 2009 non-fiction work Bright-Sided for inspiration.

- Michael Canfield
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