09.20.12

My ass

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 11:35 am by George Smith


Now imagine what happens when you’ve realized that silver nitrate-coated pencil you used yesterday also touched your nose and maybe your ear. Haw haw, nerd, you look funny.

Reads the headline at the Wall Street Journal:

Periodic Table Is New Touchstone of Geek Chic: Chemical Elements Are All the Rage

I was a Ph.D. chemist. Ninety-nine point eight percent of the losers making the fad are never gonna to be that no matter how many pix of odd elements they look up on the web.

“A clip of the 23-year-old actor Daniel Radcliffe on a British talk show singing ‘The Elements,’ a litany of chemical names, has had more than 3.7 million hits on YouTube,” it reads.

Hey, toss a copper penny into a beaker of concentrated HNO3. Breathe deeply.

I used to do stuff like that when I wanted to, like, be irritating. Like fads about chemistry, only for real, not vicariously. And that was just the beginning.

Silver nitrate on coffee cups and pencils, white phosphorus, hydrogen sulfide and other mercaptans, lachrymators, phenophthalein chiclets — good times, good times.

1 Comment

  1. Chuck said,

    September 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Probably a good thing that you gave up chemistry (the lab variety, anyway). A couple of years ago, I lost a dear friend who had spent his working life in the lab. Eventually some puzzling respiratory ailment claimed his life–the doctors had no idea of what it was or what had caused it.

    Hoods, glove boxes, etc. sometimes aren’t enough to save you. I remember Karen Wetterhahn and dimethyl mercury. Those heavy-metal organic compounds can be really nasty.