“Status Report on the Bottomless Cup Initiative,” by Kelvin W.

Sep 6th, 2023 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Good evening distinguished members of the American Restaurant Association, fellow scientists, honorable guests.

As many of you know, The Bottomless Cup Initiative had its genesis in pending legal action against restaurant chains advertising Bottomless Cup Refills. It was at the request of several such establishments, as well as the larger umbrella organization, that we began our research. We regarded the initial five million dollar grant as generous, and perhaps naively, sufficient. Today I wish to apprise you of our efforts and results thus far.

Initially, we took a simple approach. Using bent-open paper clips, the caps of ball point pens (those little plastic bayonets are actually good for something!), and at times nothing more than our index fingers, we removed the bottom, or in layman’s terms, the obstruction at the smaller end, from  standard paper and styrofoam beverage cups of the kind found in fast food establishments. These early efforts were primarily exploratory and our expectations minimal, but our efforts quickly resulted in two unexpected discoveries: 1) The results make surprisingly effective megaphones; and 2) The new receptionist startles easily.

Pursuing more focused experiments, we introduced various liquids into the megaphone-type structures. The resulting data trends, along with several strongly worded opinions from Custodian Louie, led to the inescapable conclusion that removing the bottom of a cup is an insufficient and impractical method for creating bottomless cups and their associated perpetual refill qualities, and in fact leads to a marked decrease in beverage containment.

It’s an accepted truism in science that failures often catalyze more successful inquiry. Thus it was with renewed excitement that we reframed the problem more generally as one of containment limits. Henceforth, we refocused our research on the idea of a topless cup.

This approach offered advantages. Prototypes required no modification, minimizing risk of contamination and skewed data. News of a topless cup also generated wide interest among the general public, which we took to be a positive in terms of financial support. Custodian Louie’s volunteer after-hours focus group seemed especially excited. Presentation of the prototypes however, showed the interest was somewhat misplaced. “Not at all what I was expecting,” and “What am I going to do with all of these dollar bills?” were typical comments.

Despite this minor setback, we felt the potential paradigm shift of reaching our goal to be worth continuing our efforts. While subsequent experiments using topless cups showed initial success, that success was only temporary. No matter what size of cup we used, at some point it transitioned instantaneously to an overflow condition, accompanied by a complete failure to contain any additional beverage. The data did show a strong correlation between the container size and the maximum amount of beverage allowed. In layman’s terms, larger cups were able to hold more. However, spillover conditions obtained in all real-time and all computer simulations. Of note, Custodian Louie’s opinions also held constant in both real time and computer models.

Good science is nothing if not interdisciplinary. It was in the search for the Higgs-Boson particle that we found further sense of promise and excitement for our project. As you know, discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle involved use of a large subatomic particle collider. There was concern at the time that the collider’s operation could create black or wormholes in the fabric of space time, possibly leading to the end of life on earth as we know it. While we do not take that sort of prospect lightly, we could not ignore the chance, however slight, that such an event might show us a path forward in our quest for a true bottomless cup. We based our optimism in the admittedly small and hypothetical possibility that extending one end of our prototypes into a dimension of the fourth or higher degree just might permit them to hold infinite amounts of beverage, while avoiding the unrestricted flow-through or spillover conditions evident inside our three dimensional lab space.

I don’t want to mislead you. The idea is simpler to describe than to implement, and the obstacles remain daunting. To cite one example: the Higgs-Boson was confirmed without black or worm hole creation, and currently we have neither the knowledge nor funds to construct our own multiple-dimension-producing collider. Multiple requests to use existing machines for research into bottomless cup technology remain unanswered. Nonetheless, we hope you will renew our grant.

Thank you and good night.


Kelvin W. has worked at various times as a technical writer, an electronics technician, a coordinator of hospital patient services, a photo printer, a book seller, and a grocery store clerk, to name a few. He’s been a student of one sort or another  almost more times than he can remember, yet still dreams of papers and projects that are due like tomorrow which he has not yet started. He likes reading, writing, photography, playing Pickleball and ping pong, and together with his wife riding bicycles in foreign countries.

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