Urban Legends

Uses for Bounce

The Legend

Submitted May 2005

Did you know that Bounce brand fabric softener sheets can be used for a lot more than just making laundry smell good and shunning static cling? For example:

You can take a Bounce sheet to the top of a building, wad it into a ball, drop it over the edge, time how long it takes to hit the ground, and find the height of the building with the formula for acceleration due to gravity over time, or

You can hold a Bounce sheet so that it is "standing" on the ground and measure its shadow. Then you can measure the shadow of a building and use the ratio of the shadows lengths and the "height" of the Bounce sheet to derive the height of the building, or

You can tie a piece of string to a wadded Bounce and swing it like a pendulum on the ground and then at the top of the building, and use the difference in the swinging motion to work out the height of the building, or

You can lower a box of Bounce from a building on a string, measure how much string it takes for the Bounce box to reach the ground, and thereby know the height of the building, or

You can fire a box of Bounce out of a cannon and by measuring the distance to its landing place, the angle of the cannon, and the amount of force needed to make the box exactly clear the top of a building, calculate the height of the building, or

You can see how long it takes for a Bounce sheet to lose its scent at ground level and at the top of the building and use the difference in time to figure out the building's height by using Einstein's formula for time changing due to gravitational influence, or

You can measure the thickness of a Bounce sheet both at ground level and at the top of a structure and calculate the building's height by the difference in air pressure, or

If the building has a staircase, you can walk up the building, marking the wall with end-to-end sheets of Bounce as you go, and thereby learn the building's height in "Bounce units."

And all this time we've just been putting Bounce in the dryer!

Behind the Legend

There are many methods and ideas behind the uses for Bounce. Although the majority of the methods in the above legend for Bounce and its Christmas card sized dryer sheets would work just fine, many are impractical, and some wouldn't work at all (for example, even a balled-up Bounce sheet would encounter too much air resistance to make measuring the time it takes to fall to the ground a good indicator of a building's height).But the biggest problem with this legend is that it might give one the impression that Bounce brand fabric softener sheets are good for nothing but making lovely laundry and measuring buildings.

The fact is, Bounce sheets have a great many household uses that do not require a background in physics to implement. For example:

Hair care: Tie a Bounce sheet in your hair as a lovely bow and it will keep static electricity from ruining your careful combing.

Kill insects: An insect tied securely in a sheet of Bounce will die within days.

Note taking: Notes and lists written on Bounce sheets with a Sharpie marker have a delightfully fresh "take care of this now" scent.

Car problems: Bounce sheets can be used as emergency seat stuffing or brake pads.

Geometry homework: A sheet of Bounce makes a great flexible straight edge and 90-degree protractor.

Door problems: A box of Bounce placed near the base of a door will help keep it from swinging shut on its own.

Shoes: A stack of Bounce stapled together with some twine attached to the top makes a darling pair of impromptu sandals.

Dressing up: If you're a man who is invited to a fancy restaurant on a moment's notice and don't have your tie with you, you can easily fashion one with tape, scissors, and four sheets of Bounce.

Cleanliness: No time to shower? Rub yourself all over with Bounce!

Cleanliness II: Keep a box of Bounce in the bathroom for occasions when you unexpectedly run out of toilet paper.

Guests: Put a stack of Bounce sheets on a tray on the bathroom sink as delightful scented guest towels.

Weddings: Fashion centerpiece "flowers" from pipe cleaners and Bounce. Let guests take them home as a fresh-smelling, static-killing keepsake.

Book care: A sheet of Bounce makes a convenient bookmark.

Spelling: A box of Bounce can act as a handy reminder for how to spell the difficult word "ounce" ("Bounce" = "B" + "ounce").

Sewing: A stack of Bounce sheets makes a fine pincushion.

Prevent sticking: Sheets of Bounce between pieces of Velcro will prevent them from sticking.

Fond farewells: A few Bounce sheets in an open casket eliminate that "just embalmed" smell.

Baby care: Put a sheet of Bounce in a baby's diaper. Eliminates odor and stops static from making baby stick to things. (Note, may make some babies deathly ill.)

Funny jokes: Wrap dog waste in a sheet of Bounce, put it on a neighbor's porch in the middle of the night, set it on fire, ring the doorbell, and run! Hilarious!

Repel attackers: A sheet of Bounce poked with great force in the eye will deter even the most aggressive attacker.

Self defense: A sufficiently thick stack of Bounce will actually stop a bullet!

Money counting: If you have large stacks of cash, separate bills with sheets of Bounce to prevent their sticking together during counting. Bounce can also be used to help rub away the ink from explosive dye packs that often come packaged with bags of bank currency.

Immigration assistance: Before reaching a border checkpoint, wrap sheets of Bounce around embarrassing imported materials to throw off drug-sniffing dogs.

Noise reduction: A sheet of Bounce stuffed into the mouth of a tied-up individual prevents yelling and battles bad breath.

Many more uses are possible. The only limit is your imagination!

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