When a person has something that they never want to see again, they can render the item unusable by spilling something on it and making a huge stain. Spaghetti sauce is very good for this, but one can get creative and use things like black coffee, soda, feces
and even Hollywood Acid
. Or simply just spilling their inkwell on it.
Can be used to create a Conveniently Interrupted Document
or an intentional Wardrobe Wound
. The use of this trope can signal a Revealing Coverup
. Not to be confused with Eat the Evidence
, where instead of covering the offending object in food, the offending object is consumed as food. Compare with the Beverage Spill
, where it's a character
that gets messed up, and Mustache Vandalism
, when one creatively uses ink to deface a portrait.
to be seen as Discreet Drink Disposal
- In Big Fat Liar, a movie executive steals the protagonist's school assignment and tries to make it the plot of his new film. The protagonist wants his assignment back to prove that he wrote it, only for the executive to stamp his cigar and pour vodka on it.
- Variant in The Dirty Dozen, when one of the infiltrators spills a bottle of ink over the guestbook rather than sign a name.
- In The Mummy 1999: The head librarian "accidentally" sets fire to map to Hamenaptra with a candle, charring the map so it can't be read. He is secretly working with the Medji, trying to keep outsiders from stumbling on the city.
- In Fall of Giants, Maud does this with a letter from her fiance to prevent her father reading it and learning of their plans to elope.
- In Sorcery and Cecelia, Cecelia deliberately breaks a magical chocolate pot for plot-critical reasons, but while she's at it she takes the opportunity to smear her despised dress with as much spilled chocolate as she can.
- An episode of Hannah Montana shows that this is Miley's way of ensuring that she never has to wear dorky gift dresses she gets for her birthday without offending her father. She deliberately takes out a whole plate of spaghetti and smears it all over the dress, making stains so large that they become unwearable.
- The various CSI: Crime Scene Investigation shows have a technique to get around this and similar "liquid obliterates text" situations. Namely, photographing the page under several frequencies of light, making the text appear when the images are composited.
- Sons of Anarchy had an episode where Chief Unser prevents the ATF investigators from investigating the car bomb evidence site by sneaking off, secretly peeing into a large cup of soda and then returning and "accidentally" spilling the pee/soda mixture right in the evidence area. Unser then explains to another character that the cancer treatments he's on contaminate his pee enough to set off a Geiger counter, and that when the ATF detects nuclear contaminants they'll have to leave the crime scene until a whole separate team can get there.
- A variant on the trope gets a mention on the first episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. Luke takes down a campaign poster for Rosco's re-election and explains it's for "lining the rabbit's cage...face up."
- Jumpstart Adventures3rd Grade Mystery Mountain. One of the game's missions had Polly decide to alter the reason Leonardo da Vinci wasn't about to construct a helicopter after designing it on paper by invoking this trope. Once fixed, the real reason becomes apparent: there were no electric motors in da Vinci's day to power a helicopter.
- Homestar Runner really likes this trope.
- Pictured and quoted above: Strong Bad is leafing through a book of world records and finds one of his younger self having the "Most Dirtiest Diapey". He instantly makes breakfast on it to save face.
- Strong Bad as Dangeresque considers this trick by spilling either really old coffee or nasty Chinese takeout on the case file he has to solve before he leaves his office so it'll be unreadable and wash his hands of responsibility. This gets him landed in prison instead.
- Homestar poured Mountain Dew on Strong Bad's computer to make a wet computer out of it. Strong Bad in turn pours an enormous bottle of Mountain Dew on Homestar's computer in turn as payback.
- When thinking of various art styles for his hypothetical portrait, Strong Bad suggests a painting of him in a 17th century photo-realistic Dutch style, and remarked that these types of paintings are often vandalized by art bandits. Cue The Cheat spray-painting a RAD RAD ROBOTANK all over it. Strong Bad approves that after being vandalized, now it's worth something.
- On The Simpsons, Homer hears from his daughter Lisa that his son Bart lied so he could go on a road trip with his other 10-year-old friends alone, and is working as a courier to get a chance to return home after losing all their money. Homer retrieves Bart by pouring a Buzz Cola on his work console, shorting it out so he has an excuse to buy a new one and have Bart escort it.