This is a test of the Emergency Ophthalmological Association. If you can view the accompanying picture without squinting, your vision is good. If you must squint we urge you to go get some glasses you old coot! This concludes the test of the Emergency Ophthalmological Association. We now join your regularly selected blog post in progress.

......and that’s how you turn regular potting soil into pure gold. See, I told you it was really simple. Now remember, you only want to make a little at a time. If you flood the market with gold, you’ll drive the price down. I suggest you pretend to take a vacation somewhere like Alaska in the gold fields and tell people you mined it. That way you can take about $20,000 in gold into the assayers office about every other month. Not bad for a $15 investment, eh?

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Anyway, now that we have the trivial stuff out of the way, let’s move on to todays subject. And that subject is legal crack.

After you read this, I want you to close your eyes and imagine a substance that takes you away from the pain and suffering of life and delivers you into the realm of Nirvana, with all your cares stripped away. Now imagine that this substance is available to anybody. It’s cheap, or even free.

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Ok....close your eyes and do the imagining thing.

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Done?

Remember how I said it was legal crack? All of you know exactly how it feels because every single one of you has done it. Don’t worry, I’m not judging you. After all, it’s 100% legal.

I’m talking about bubble wrap. And don’t even try to deny that you ever grabbed a piece and squeezed a bubble between your fingers. That satisfying instant when the bulging sack of air reaches the breaking point and POP!

Oh yeah. You know what I’m talking about. And the second one is almost as satisfying as the first. And it keeps going with the third, fourth, fifth and so on. And finally, when you can take no more, you grab the edges of the piece in both hands and you twist. And twist. And keep twisting until all the bubbles start popping in rapid succession. Like the rapid firing of a machine gun or the popping of corn. And it. Is. Heaven.

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After you’re done with the popping, have you ever stopped to consider where bubble wrap came from? Or how long it’s been around?

No. Of course you haven’t. Why would you? I mean, I’m the who knows about strange odd stuff around here, right? But, as it turns out, I need something odd for today, and bubble wrap qualifies.

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Bubble wrap is one of those things in this world that is taken for granted. It’s just always been there, right? Well, obviously it hasn’t. Someone had to invent it first. And that someone was Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes. (yeah I know...that’s 2 someones). The year was 1957 and ‘Leave It To Beaver’ premiered on TV, the Frisbee was introduced, the Dodgers move to L.A., and John and Paul first meet at a party in Liverpool.

And our two someones worked together in a lab in New Jersey. Their job was to invent stuff to make their bosses money. So one day they took two shower curtains and stuck them together. They glued them together so there were small pockets of air scattered throughout the finished product.

Yep. That was the finished product. Two shower curtains with small pockets of air trapped in between them. Ok. That was the prototype. They refined their design and came up with something close to what we have today. It was at this point that they tried to sell their new invention. But instead of selling it to businesses that needed to protect items for transport, they tried selling it to home design stores as wallpaper.

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It didn’t sell at all, so they took the next logical step and tried to sell it to greenhouse owners as insulation. Let me ask you, have you ever seen bubble wrap used as insulation in greenhouses?

Our two somebodys were about to give up when, in 1960, they heard about this company named IBM and how they had this new electronic device called the IBM 1401 Computer, and how they were looking for something that could keep it protected during transport.

Somebody 1 and Somebody 2 looked at each other, shrugged and said ‘What the hell, why not?’ and took a bunch of their plastic sheets covered in tiny air bags over to IBM and let them give it a try.

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And the rest is history. Next time you pick up some bubble wrap and casually pop the bubbles, imagine your house decorated in every room with bubble wrap wallpaper.*

As another little interesting tidbit, aluminum foil was invented in 1903 but the idea of using it to cover/wrap food didn’t occur to anyone until the mid 1920's. Up until then it’s primary use was for the marking of racing pigeons.

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* Don’t lie. You’re thinking about it.