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Po-tential K-atastrophe Averted

| Learning | March 26, 2013

(I’m cleaning up from a project in the chemistry lab when a tour comes in.)

Guide: “…and this is one of our chemistry labs. This particular one is used mostly by chemistry majors who are working on their—” *to young boy who wanders off* “Excuse me, please don’t touch anything. This lab has some dangerous chemicals in it.”

(I’m currently cleaning up some of those ‘dangerous chemicals,’ so I look up. A younger boy around age eight has broken off from the group and has picked up some glassware and turned on a sink.)

Mother: “Oh, don’t worry about him. Daddy’s a chemist, so he’s used to playing in the lab.”

Guide: “Uh, well, it’s school policy that I have to ask the tours not to touch anything.”

Mother: *smirking* “That’s nice, but I REALLY think that being in his daddy’s lab has—”

(Suddenly, a professor barges through the doors to the lab and goes straight for the young boy.)

Professor: “WHAT THE H*** ARE YOU DOING?!”

(The professor TACKLES the young boy, which obviously enrages the mother.)

Mother: “What the f*** is wrong with you?! Nothing in this this tiny lab is worth so much that—”

(Suddenly, the sink explodes. After a few seconds of stunned silence, the mother finally speaks up.)

Mother: “Your wretched lab could have killed my son!”

Professor: “No, your wretched son could have killed himself and the rest of the tour!”

(They continue to yell at each other while the tour guide frantically calls security. The son wanders over to me.)

Son: “Daddy never lets me have that much potassium metal! Do you have any more?!”

Me: “Nope, that was, uh, the lab’s entire supply.”

(Security arrives and defuses the professor and the mother, who threatens to sue. A week later, instead of a lawsuit, we receive a letter informing us that if we need any more potassium, ‘Daddy’s lab’ will be happy to provide it to us for free.)

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