Pop Goes the Holiday

The Empress of Bubble Wrap
The Empress of Bubble Wrap
There are few things in life that bring universal pleasure. Just because something makes you happy doesn’t mean that others share your joy. The unbridled glee you feel when you dress up like Egon Spengler and go hunting for ghosts may only elicit rolled eyes and snickers from others. Your stunning collection of live toads playing with dolls may amuse your Aunt Gertrude, who’s always secretly known you’d never marry, but may drive others to see what the procedures are legally, and immediately, available to have someone committed. And who could have known that a banjo playing beekeeper wouldn’t cause a world wide sensation? Certainly I was stunned when I found out. There’s a lot you can learn from a site like that. For example, did you know that banjo music drives bees insane? Had you ever thought to try and find out?

If so, why?

Nevertheless, there do seem to be some things that bring joy to all. The little pleasures life hands us that require no more effort than our attention. As the Empress of Bubble Wrap could have told us, bubble wrap is one such thing.

Naturally, when Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes first invented bubble wrap in 1957 (commercially released in 1960), they had no clue that their revolutionary new idea for wallpaper would take on a life of its own.

Side bar; can you imagine living in a house with bubble wrap wallpaper? It might be cool for about 10 seconds, then you’d have to kill someone.

Anyway, Larry Knowles from AOL News reports that bubble wrap is finally getting the attention it so richly deserves by having its own national holiday.

Save that loose packing material, because Monday marks a day to officially celebrate one of the greatest “pop” icons of all time: Bubble Wrap.

For the past 10 years, fans from around the country have been setting aside time on the last Monday in January to twist and stomp, often in unison, as they commemorate what’s known as Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.

The day, known as BWAD, was begun in 2001 by a couple of bored radio DJs in Bloomington, Ind., supposedly looking to fill the news void between Martin Luther King Day and the Super Bowl. During that first BWAD, the radio station held a “Bubblympiad” that included events such as a Bubble Wrap popping relay and Pop-a-Mole.

Since then, fandom has taken over, as Bubble Wrap lovers and addicts have loudly and proudly feted the packing material introduced in 1960, originally designed as insulated wallpaper.

Among the fans are the employees of Sealed Air, the New Jersey company that makes Bubble Wrap.

“Oh yeah, we celebrate Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day,” said Ken Aurichio, a spokesman for Sealed Air, in an interview with AOL News. “We have boxes of the stuff around the office. People can just walk by and grab a sheet. You’ll hear popping throughout the day.”

Not that BWAD is different from any other day at Sealed Air. Aurichio added that, as a perk, employees get their own memo-sized sheets of Bubble Wrap to play with at their desks.

He reminds people to have plenty of Bubble Wrap on hand for the day and be conscious of what size they are buying.

“The larger Bubble Wrap makes more noise when you pop it,” he said, “but, of course, the smaller Bubble Wrap sizes give you more pop per role.”

Throughout the years, fans have paid homage to Bubble Wrap in unique ways. There are homemade Bubble Wrap football helmets, handbags and dresses. One woman even got married in a Bubble Wrap wedding gown.

Festivities on BWAD, though, center on a singular activity: popping.

“I’m going to put Bubble Wrap on the souls of my shoes and annoy the people in my office,” said Deanna Ferrante, communications director at Peddie School in Highstown, N.J.

An admitted Bubble Wrap addict, Ferrante added, “My usual technique tends to be a little more individual, rather than large stomping and twisting. I like to pop and make sure I don’t miss a single one.”

Another fan, Mark Le Vine, co-owner of BubbleFAST, a Chicago-area shipping supply company, plans to pop throughout the day. He also suggested that BWAD revelers take a coffee break at the same time to pop Bubble Wrap.

“It would be the bubble pop heard around the world,” he said in an interview.

Le Vine, who along with his wife, Robin, is known to post-office clerks around town as “Bubbleman and Robin,” has more than a passing appreciation for Bubble Wrap.

“We’re a small family-owned business, and Bubble Wrap first put two kids through college and there are two more to go, and it put food on the table. So, I don’t know how you can appreciate Bubble Wrap any more than that.”

We here at Nude Hippo’s World News Center will celebrate the day by wearing bubble wrap underwear. It’s just a happy coincidence that today is also office chili day.

So don’t worry, those sounds you hear emanating from our office are just the bubble wrap popping and nothing more.

But, just in case, there’s air freshener in the closet down the hall.

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