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Inspirational Reads

Totally Blowing Shit Up Tuesdays: Paging the Darwin Awards

August 4, 2009

Being a chemist, I always keep in the back of my mind what is going on with the reaction I'm about to do or am doing or getting ready to shut down. In the front of my mind, however, I usually keep the "what can go wrong with this motherfucker" file. Can it heat up and blow yellow shit all over the top of my hood? Can it smoke and fume and blow black tar on the inside of my hood which I can conveniently hand over to one of my co-workers as I move to a new lab? Can it detonate forcefully and remove a hand or, worse, my tally-wacker? Will the explosion be that big? Maybe I should work on small scale more often in the hood.

The other thing I do is I look at all the shit around the reaction I'm doing. If it's going to suddenly shoot flames out of the top of the flask, perhaps I'll want to remove all the flammable solvents from the immediate area. If it can explode, perhaps I'll want to put up a blast shield so that nothing flies out and punctures a gas tank or another reaction or my lung. Is there another reaction running that might interact with this and thus make the situation worse?

And finally, I consider my outfit. No, no, I don't worry about the stylish duds I'm sporting. If I have a shit ton of hot chemical blown all over my person, I want to be able to strip off my soiled clothes (and my soiled underclothes). I might also want to protect my eyes, so that I don't have to remember how gloriously awesome breasts are, but I can reaffirm for myself on a daily basis. Of course, reaffirm too much, and I'll go blind for other reasons. Curse you, nuns, you were right! Also, if I'm reaching toward something that's potentially going to explode or spew hot stuff at me, I want some gloves so that they can at least find my fingers when they're severed and--if not too mangled--reattach them.

With that in mind, let's watch this dumbass trying his best to win a Darwin Award:

Let's see how he did, shall we?

No goggles.
No lab coat.
Jesus Fuck Christ! This guy is apparently wearing Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Labcoat!
No gloves.
No blast shield.
Not working in a hood, where all those toxic fumes you've just created can by shunted out to mother nature.
Bottle of potentially flammable solvent sitting two feet from ground zero (or table zero, I guess). I think it's ethanol, but it might be a halogenated solvent, in which case, we just have to worry about it shattering and filling the lab with nasty vapors.
Stirring, boiling flask sitting two feet in the other direction. Probably a water-based reaction, but could be caustic and/or acidic.
Electrical cord running right through the blast area.
Boiling flask is not secured in any fashion.
Lighting shit on fire without a fire extinguisher anywhere nearby. But not to worry. The Big Bad Idiot Wolf huffed and puffed and blew the fire out.

That's a pretty good list right there. Not to mention, a rainbow-colored windbreaker is the ideal thing to wear when you're working in the lab. Granted, after blowing his eyebrows off, the rainbow-colored windbreaker was now striped in a very lurid brown color.

This is exactly why I shouldn't be a teacher--I'd kick this kid's ass for being so totally fucking stupid. And then I'd fail him. Insult to injury, baby. Basically, this guy was fucking lucky. Kids, don't try this shit at home. Or in the lab. Or anywhere near me.

But, if you do, at least wear goggles.


otherworldlyone said...

Maybe he was dropped on his head as a baby.

That's always my excuse.

Some Guy said...

He doesn't seem to show any remorse, either. He's just yukking it up while he put the rest of the people in the room's lives in peril.

Scope said...

Oh Darwin, why could you not have guided the cool, cruel finger of Fate to gently smite this idjit by at least lighting his tiedye on fire?

The Peach Tart said...

clueless just basically clueless

Bev said...

What a maroon.

I'm so cautious that I even wear goggles when I read your blog. You just never know.

snowelf said...

Dude...does this guy work at Lowes?


Chemgeek said...

I can assure you, I would fail this guy and send him over to the business department.

Nej said...

Bet he crapped his pants though. We have that to laugh about.

Did you, or have you ever watched the Animaniacs? If so, do you remember the spots they did called "Good Idea, Bad Idea"?

Yeah, that's what I think of when I watch this video. :-)

Adam L. said...

The fact that he didn't get glass in his face is a testament to the fact that stupidity is often rewarded.

I'm going to show this video to my bio-oriented labmates who are privy to wearing shorts and sandals with no goggles or labcoats while working...

Eric said...

Not smart...

Soda and Candy said...

mjenks, I think you might have the best job in the world. It sounds like so much fun messing around with chemicals!

corticoWhat said...

"That shouldn't have happened," he said. He should have said, "My genetically reduced cranial cavity (pea brain) did not allow me to comprehend the results of combining flame with a flammable gas inside a closed environment." Duh!

The Ambiguous Blob said...

I tend not to blow stuff up on purpose, so I have no use for goggles and lab coats. That doesn't stop me from playing dress-up on occasion, however.

Fancy Schmancy said...

"Har-dee-har-har. I sure done got lucky that time, huh Bubba?!"

Candy's daily Dandy said...

I think he was making some chronic to sell at the next Dead concert.


LiLu said...

You're so critical. Maybe he just likes to live dangerously.

(This is all part of my plan to let the weakest off themselves...)

Mala said...

Since my laptop is ailing and on it's deathbed, I can't see the video, so I'll use my imagination....., that guy's an idiot!

Now, what shall I wear when I blow this piece of shit computer up?

Jules said...

He might have been my chemistry teacher.... I can't really tell.....

dg said...

Jesus Mary and Joseph. That guy right there makes an excellent case for legal abortion. Some people just shouldn't be.

coolred38 said...

Interesting how he sees the fire and takes no direct action to put it out...I figure his brain has been turned to mush by the explosion...the part that wasnt mush already.

Frank said...

Is it also unacceptable to giggle like a little girl in a lab, like that guy did?

"Teehee, that wasn't supposed to happen LOL!"

Lisa-tastrophies said...

I WOULD fail his ass in a heartbeat! Then I would take him outside and show him the verbal meaning of "blowing shit up" ~ the teacher edition. Or I would make him wear a sign that said "I was a dumbshit in Chemistry and did not wear my safety goggles ~ Have you see my missing eyebrows?"

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Otherworldlyone: Well, that would explain his fashion sense...

@ Some Guy: The one time I blew something up in the lab, there was no laughing about it. Maybe it was the noxious cloud of hydrazine floating in the air, but I didn't think it was a good idea to stand around laughing and haw-hawing. It was more like "holy shit, I still have a right hand! Thank you, God!"

@ Scope: Is Darwin in charge of Fate these days? I'm sure he sits around, shaking head and saying, "Of all the shit I did, this is what I get named for."

@ The Peach Tart: I'm wondering how he got ahold of the flammable gas in the first place.

@ Bev: After the Jamie Randol story, I don't blame you.

@ SnowElf: No, because then he'd be confused as to what to do with the fire. He's more of a Borders employee.

@ Chemgeek: You know, I keep having this sinking feeling that he is the instructor!

@ Nej: Did I watch the Animaniacs? Come on. A nerdy dude like me? Not watch the Animaniacs? Yeah.

Giving yourself a root canal was my favorite "good idea, bad idea"

@ Adam L: Once, in undergrad, I was helping the gen chem class when a test tube went off (the K2CO3 experiment) and it sliced open a girl's wrist and damned near took out another girl's eye. And then this jackass gets nothing. Unfair, I say.

@ Eric: No, but funny for the rest of us.

@ Soda & Candy: It's a great job...until you spend a week trying to purify something so that you can carry it on to the next step. And you're still not convinced it's 100% ready to go.

@ CorticoWhat?: Yeah, you'd think when he had to keep shoving that flame further and further into the bottle that something would have clicked inside that dense packet of meat sitting on his shoulders. But, no.

@ Tabbie: Not that I'm envisioning that, now. *shifty-eyed*

@ Fancy: Famous redneck last words: "Hey, watch this."

@ Candy: Maybe he'll start a meth lab and thereby thin the herd a little bit for us all. That Birch reduction can be mighty tricksy.

@ Lilu: True enough. And, he's a wonderful lesson in teaching people the value of protecting your nuts when playing with fire.

@ Mala: Do it outside in a large enough environment, and you can blow it up nekkid. Just stand far enough away. And take lots of pictures. Of the explosion. *shifty eyed*

@ Jules: Like I told Chemgeek, I do have this terrified suspicion that he might have been the chem teacher. *shudder*

@ DG: Now, now. All life is valuable. Some life is more valuable than others.

@ coolred38: You're right. The first thing anyone should do when there's a fire in a chemlab is yuk it up with your friends. And then blow it out.

@ Frank: Only if dick jokes are involved.

@ Lisa: We have a guy here at work who wants to hang a sign around people's necks that says "I have Shit for Brains". I think this cat would definitely qualify.