The November Tin Foil Disaster

Having said that this week will be devoted to Alexis Pathenikolides, I rapidly find myself swerving into the nearest layby to secretly indulge myself in another subject entirely. Allow me to lay the blame on this blogger – without which I should never have been diverted from that other, ineffably worthy task of mine.

As Mr Elberry reminds us, ‘google referrals’ can, at the best of times, yield especially peculiar results. When I have the time to peruse the long list of ‘web search terms’ collected in the exhaustive statistics from Underneath the Bunker, I am consistently surprised by the strangeness of many of the phrases found therein (and, indeed, of their relationship to my site). In fact, I have of late taken to making a list of the most intriguing entries – one of which (the beguiling ‘crocodile poo dung made counterfeit’) I put forward as an example in the comments to the aforementioned post.

Whilst I should love to throw the remainder of this list in your face in a single elegant fling, I think it would be better to draw them out over a much longer period, particularly as many of them have, I believe, an elusive charm, on which I should like to dwell.

Today, then, I shall consider the following: ‘baby swallowed tin foil by mistake’.

What it lacks in sheer absurdity, this one certainly gains in poignancy. It is, in one sense, a short story contained in a phrase. One is drawn into the drama of the sentence immediately, imagining a well-meaning but mildly negligent parent (or better still, babysitter) using google to alleviate the panic caused by their baby’s ingestion of a corner of mince pie casing. Why ring a doctor? The internet will solve it all: of course it will! Somewhere, surely, someone will have written something on the subject of babies swallowing tin foil – and everything will be all right.

Or will it? It worries me somewhat that such an anxious baby-carer, in the search for a calming answer to a possible medical dilemma, found themselves on a website devoted to obscure European literature. How did it happen? Where do I – or one of my reviewers – ever refer to tin-foil eating babes? I cannot recall. But I can almost guarantee that we didn’t provide the answer this person was looking for (though it’s nice to think that we might have converted them to the joys of Bulgarian literature in the meantime)


2 thoughts on “The November Tin Foil Disaster

  1. i once cured myself of bad asthma by drinking strong coffee – my medication wasn’t working and i remembered Proust used to battle his asthma with coffee. It worked in my case – about 3 times, then never again. True, Proust isn’t as obscure as some of your subjects but not for want of trying.

  2. Seven volumes, god knows how many pages, one imagines there must be a reference to swallowing tin-foil lurking somewhere in Proust (and if not, one asks – why not?). Perhaps someone once opened a packet of madeleines, but didn’t eat them all, wrapping the remaining cakes in foil to keep them fresh.

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