At the Helm: Hazmat suits and bubble wrap
Written by Scott Graves, Pilot staff writer   
September 23, 2011 09:42 pm

 

Three weeks into the school year and my wife and 8-year-old daughter have colds, and I heard reports of students going home from school sick this week after, as one teacher called it, “barfing.”

I knew something was up when I dropped my daughter at school and saw the teachers wearing full hazmat suits. I’m not sure if they were wearing full-body protection to ward off infectious germs or students’ projectile puke.

To be honest, I don’t think the bright yellow suits are the teachers’ best color, but the red “Don’t barf on me” stickers on the helmets are a nice fashion touch.

I was thinking of buying hazmat suits for the Graves family. We need them. My wife works with school children daily and I volunteer throughout the week in my daughter’s class. 

I checked the Internet and found that a basic full-body hazmat suit costs about $400. That’s not bad considering how much we’ll likely spend this winter on hand sanitizer, cold medicine and tissues. Also, the suits can double as Halloween costumes.

Next summer, instead of sunscreen, we’ll wear ... hazmat suits! I bet they make  great insect repellant, too.

Too much?

Okay, perhaps I can convince the rest of you parents to keep your sick kids home? Or maybe I can get a judge to issue a retching retraining order on all sick people?

Didn’t think so.

So, on to Plan B.

That’s B as in Bubble Wrap.  That, along with a roll of duct tape, and you have makings for the perfect DIY hazmat suit!

Starting Monday, the Graves folks are going to wrap each other in bubble wrap every morning before heading out the front door.

I know, I know, bubble wrap may prove problematic. It may make driving the car more difficult (but eliminate the need for airbags). It may make answering the phone difficult, so I’ll have to create a new phone message: “Hi! This is Scott. I’m busy grappling with bubble wrap right now. Please leave a message after the beep.”) My daughter might have difficulty doing her classwork (but playing dodgeball should prove less painful).

Think about this: With a bubble wrap suit I’d never have to worry about stubbing my toe, hitting my funny bone or hurting myself when banging my head against the wall in frustration. Floating the Chetco River without a raft would be a blast. And I could jump on the bed as much as I wanted! 

If I wore the suit under my clothes I’d look really buff.

My family could have bubble-bump family night, in which we don our bubble wrap suits and bounce off one another in the living room. When time’s up, the one with the most popped bubbles wins, earning the title of ... wait for it ...  “King of Pop.”

A major benefit of a bubble wrap hazmat suit: the amusement factor. Okay, show of hands. How many of you just love to pop those plastic bubbles? Or stomp on a whole sheet of the stuff! The sound of it popping is music to my ears. Therapy is expensive, but popping bubble wrap is cheap! And once you start, its impossible to stop until every last bubble is popped, or my wife ties my hands with it.

If bubble wrap proves too cumbersome, there’s always Plan C. Oh, wait. I don’t have a Plan C.

So I’m leaving right now to buy a bushel basket of Bubble Wrap. I hear it comes in pink and blue. Good thing. Those colors go better with barf.