In which Lucien and I create a message in a bottle with the hopes of someone finding it some day.

The Declaration in the Flask

688 words about life — 21:47 · 7th May 2013

Joining the ranks of great people such as Theophrastus, Christopher Columbus and the guy who made the Solo Bottle, my son and I have today forever immortalised ourselves with the Mistress of the Sea. Braving through the wilderness, fighting against the elements we have come out victorious on the other side, and boy do we have a story to tell.

What? Too dramatic?

Maybe I could scale it down, just a teeny tiny little bit.

Today we made a message in a bottle and walked down to the river and threw it in. Too scaled back and boring? Oh well. We’re sticking with it now.

I think the Swedish Wikipedia page sums up the concept of a message in a bottle best.

A message in a bottle is an unreliable method for communication or letter writing.

This is just my quick translation, but hopefully you get the gist. And for those of you that speak Swedish, here’s the link to the original text.

Now I suppose some of you might be wondering why I would bother with something like this? Why bother with something that at its very essence is unreliable? And well, there’s a surprisingly simple answer to that question. Technology.

Technology, in all its glorious life enhancing ways, has a way of removing the element of surprise. Maybe not entirely but at least to a certain extent. And I like the element of surprise. I like the experiences that random chance can bring. So, why not raise the odds a little bit? My son is growing up in a world where amazing technology exists at our fingertips, every day. He’s growing up to an amazing world where things that I can’t even imagine, haven’t been invented yet. There’s something that doesn’t exists yet, that he is going to take for granted, that I’m going to be too old to understand once it does exist. That is pretty fucking amazing. But all these things — because they are still just “things” — sometimes become a crutch we rely on too much, rather than remain the excellent tools that they are, to our own minds. So, in the midst of all these assisting technologies — Note to self: Watch Mike Judge’s Idiocracy again — I want to remind him to be curious… about history, about how people used to live, about where we all came from before Google™ gains self-awareness and takes took over our lives. In short, to be curious.

Which is why I thought he could make some drawing whilst I prepared a QR code — Hey, I’m not a Luddite — to put in the corner of one of his drawings. That way, whoever found the bottle will be able to find this post. Turns out, it’s totally possible to draw a QR code and still have it be scannable although it does take a few second longer than normally. I decided on a QR code instead of a physical address because there’s no guarantee that we will still live where we live now a few years down the line and it would be a shame if someone found the bottle but couldn’t find us.

So. We have now sent our message in a bottle. And I suppose only time will tell if someone, somewhere happens to find it, and us. If they don’t, that’s fine but at the very least we have created the possibility for someone, somewhere to find it, and us. We have created the possibility for a surprise.

Lucien himself? Well, he was mostly excited to get to be a pirate who throws bottles with messages into the sea.

Lucien and I holding the bottle just before throwing it in the river Medway.
This was the last we saw of Mr. Bottle. May he rest in peace.

You’ve just read The Declaration in the Flask .

In which, 7 years ago, I wrote 688 words about life and I covered topics, such as: father and son.