Our new ceiling light in the upstairs hallway looks great – much classier than its predecessor, which had a certain “mob wife” vibe to it. But, much like the child (or cat) on Christmas morning, after the light came out of its cardboard box, I quickly lost interest in its contents and focused on the carton – specifically, the packing materials. You know what I’m talking about: bubblewrap.
Cats can have their boxes; for me, the joy of slicing the tape, flattening the container, and placing it in the recycling bin is short-lived (the days of me being able to curl up inside a cardboard box to take a nap ended a good ten years ago). But the bubblewrap…oh, the bubblewrap. I suppose if cats were wise to the thrill of popping those tiny air-filled plastic pillows, they’d sharpen their claws and gain a significant amount of weight. But as it is, that rapture belongs to another species, of which I am proud to be a member.
Much as the eating of kettle corn delights multiple sensations (it’s salty…no, it’s sweet…it’s so crunchy, both texturally and audibly!), so too does the popping of bubblewrap. The material feels great in the hand, there’s the anticipation of the pop, the sound of the pop, the deflation of the bubble after the pop, and the faint scent of toxic air released during the pop. And what about the two-fisted squeezing of a dozen or more bubbles simultaneously, creating the comic sound of a farting rhino? What’s not to love?
If you’ve watched The Lord of the Rings, you may recall the scene in the first installment where the ale-loving hobbit Pippin is gobsmacked upon learning in The Prancing Pony that beer comes in pints. I felt similarly bowled over when I removed the packing material from the carton, for the bubblewrap was no ordinary bubblewrap – those clear square-inch balloons joined together on a sheet. Oh, no. These were groups of six conjoined green plastic pillows, each pillow measuring seven by four inches (yes, I measured them, just as a fisherman would measure his catch). Ironically, they were the perfect size pillows for cats.
Technically called “air pouches,” these little beauties were made of 95% pre-consumer recycled material, so I could rest assured that my carbon footprint would be minimal as I greatly expanded my decibel footprint. Its label informed me “this product is intended as a packaging product only,” but I was willing to risk it. Its label also cautioned me: “Keep away from small children.” I assumed that meant children in a developmental rather than emotional sense.
Out in the garage, I flattened the box and crammed it in the recycling bin, getting business out of the way before diving into pleasure. Pleasure was achieved by spreading the four dozen air pouches on the ground and stomping on them like Godzilla at a Zumba class. At first I thought someone was across the street firing a shotgun, but no, it was just our one-car garage with its door open acting like a sound cannon. It was, in a word, awesome. I blasted the rectangular pillows open in quick succession, just in case a neighbor thought someone was across the street firing a shotgun and called the police. I can only imagine what that conversation would go like.
Police: You’re telling me that was the sound of you stepping on bubblewrap?
Pearson: Oh no, officer. Not bubblewrap. Air pouches.
Police: How old are you?
Pearson: I believe you have my license there.