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Fishing For Controversy

, , , , , | Friendly | December 21, 2017

(I’m a research student in a lab that uses zebrafish. Since my work is in zebrafish juvenile development up to three months and all of my lab-mates are doing projects with fish that are only a few days old, I do most of the fish care for the lab, including raising the babies to adults to add to our research population. I frequently joke about the fish being my babies, and my nickname in the lab is ‘Mother of Zebrafish.’ One weekend I want to go hunting with my family, so I send around an email to my lab-mates to see if anyone else can care for the juveniles and adults for a few days while I’m gone. One of my lab-mates agrees, and after I get back, we go out for drinks just to catch up and discuss our work. It’s relevant for the story that I’m a white girl, and my lab-mate is a Hispanic man, with a noticeable accent.)

Me: “I hope they weren’t too much trouble while I was gone?”

Lab-Mate: “Nah, they were great, and I had to be in anyway to get the results for the immuno-staining. It was no trouble.”

Me: “Much appreciated! Thanks for taking care of my babies so I could go hunting!”

Stranger: “EXCUSE ME?!”

(Surprised, both of us turn around to see a woman glaring at us.)

Stranger: “You left your kids alone all weekend so you could go HUNTING?! What kind of a negligent mother are you?! And you!” *turns to lab-mate* “Is she at least paying you, or is she just buying you beer? She’s just paying for your beer, isn’t she? You deserve a better job; I know a good landscaping company.”

Lab-Mate: “What the h***? Piss off, lady. We’re talking about fish, not literal children!”

Stranger: “What?”

Me: “We work in a lab; he was taking care of the fish over the weekend! Oh, and for the record…he’s a neurobiology grad student with a grant from the NIH. You can stuff your landscaping job!”

(She turns red, and stalks out in a huff.)

Lab-Mate: “Wonder what she’d do if we told her our thesis advisor grew up in Mexico City…”