Sunday, August 21, 2005

Jiffy Memories II

Our Chemistry class included 4-hour labs twice a week. The one on Tuesday afternoon was OK, but from 8AM until 12 noon on Saturday was just plain mean. There was nothing like ending a romantic date and having to look forward to four hours in a hot, smelly chem lab. It ruined one’s mood.

So on one Saturday early morning when I saw the guy across the lab hooking up his Bunsen burner, I didn’t give him a long technical analysis. I just said, “It’ll never work.”
He was in an equally snarley mood and ignored me. That briefly, is why he was caught having switched the water and the gas hoses and trying to light the large stream of water issuing from the top of the gas burner. Awful mess.

On another gloomy Saturday morning the guy next to me dropped a liter bottle of concentrated Ammonium Hydroxide. The fellow that dropped it was jumping up and down asking one and all, “What Shall I Do!!” repeatedly. To be funny, I thought, I told him to pour a bottle of concentrated Hydrochloric Acid over the mess. He did. We evacuated the building.

If you are not familiar with chemistry at its basic level—that combination makes a very caustic, thick, smoke screen. It smells of whichever component is present in excess. Also an awful mess.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

I remember NOTHING about (high school) Chemistry, which I loathed. What I do remember is the man who taught it (my Dad was a teacher at the same high school) was a disgusting pervert. He once sidled up behind me as I was standing at the lab table and grabbed my butt. Can you imagine?! But this was in the early 70's before people took action on sexual harassment. In those days, it was just written off to "Mr. P. is a pig." He'd stroke the hair of another teacher's kid. Gag. She got A's. The rest of us copied off of her. He was a foul, foul man.