Birthdays (and the magic of tin foil)

Beneath the Floor - April 2021
Wallpaper forest

April and May have a disproportionate amount of birthdays in my calendar. My father, brother, sister-in-law, 3 of my best friends, my dog, and myself all have birthdays between the fourth of one month and the fourth of the next. Unfortunately my annual ‘casino night’ birthday shindig is once again TOTALLY ILLEGAL and will have to be postponed.

But logistics and legalities aside, I now have a brand new birthday to add to the calendar. No, I've not created a human child. Floor Fifty-Four turns one year old today! One year since the website went live and my pet project evolved from ideas and scribbles to a fully fledged ‘thing’ that existed in the wild. Since then, twelve short stories, twelve containment reports and twelve items have made themselves known.

Naturally I’ve bought a present - I’ve treated myself to a little mug to mark this momentous occasion, complete with custom hazard warnings. Adding to the celebrations is a new section on the site - the Items page! I’ve finally moved the reports off of my clunky Mailchimp pages and added them to the website. Now you can see each item, see safety warnings and read everything they appear in, all in one place! I’ve had this section planned for a while so I’m really excited to see what people think. Hopefully it adds to the feeling of this little world I’m building, and we’ve got more fun surprises planned down the line, but books are the focus at the moment. I’ve been perpetually pushing that deadline back and back, but it’s time to buckle down and get things finished!

As well as deadlines, another thing I’ve realised lately that I am perhaps unskilled at is wrapping presents. My wife made a lovely chocolate treat for her sister’s birthday, and my only job was to wrap it up nicely. I’ll mention I was left completely unsupervised for this. So, really, is the obvious failure even my fault? Armed with baking paper, some flimsy yellow tissue thing and a roll of sellotape, I set to work wrapping square shaped paper around a thick chocolate disc. I thought I’d mastered basic geometric shapes, but obviously not. It was a tangled mess. The tape kept peeling off. The tissue paper (atom-thin) ripped. It’s almost as if baking paper wasn’t designed for wrapping presents. I suppose my brain linked chocolate (food) and baking paper (for food), but by the end I was practically looping the tape around just to get my monstrosity-gift to stop unfurling itself like a flower in bloom.

Then I put in a carrier bag to hide my shame.

The overall effect was not well received, if I’m honest. Like I say, it was doomed from the start. I’m an engineer. I can think in detail about how things work, but wrapping presents is completely beyond me. And I’ve decided this is not a flaw of mine - nope. It is, in fact, a flaw in the raw materials used. Perhaps even a flaw in society.

There exists something far superior to mere wrapping paper.

  • It conceals the gift - performing the basic function one expects of present wrapping material.
  • It moulds itself perfectly to any shape or size.
  • It’s reusable.
  • It is attractive and futuristic.
  • It can be used as a mirror, to admire your reflection or even check for enemies.

I’m talking of course, about tin foil. (aka aluminum foil.) (aka aluminIUM foil.)

I’ll get into the cultural differences of aluminum vs aluminium another time, but the merits of metal foil vs wrapping paper are clear, and I for one think it’s high time that society caught up.

Let me tell you, I have wrapped many things with tin foil, and every time it has been a great success. Corn on the cob. Jacket potatoes. Leftovers. Raw meat. Yet apparently it’s “frowned upon” to wrap gifts in metal foil. Apparently it’s somehow “offensive” or “indecent” to make presents chrome, shiny and mysterious. Well, clearly, everyone is wrong. Metal foil gift wrap is the way of the future and you need to either evolve or get left behind.

Happy 1st birthday Floor Fifty-Four!

(please wrap any presents in foil)

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Floor Fifty-Four, 2021