So-Dum

, , , , , | Learning | November 6, 2019

(I’m going to high school in the late 90s. We have a couple of teachers who have enough tenure that they know they can’t get fired, and are slightly crazy. This makes for some very interesting classes; my chemistry teacher is one of these. A brief bit of background, which will be relevant later: my father is a chemical engineer and taught me quite a bit about chemical reactions. This particular class start out different from normal, with the teacher having all of us get up and stand out in the hallway. He has us gather around the door, looking into the room. On the counter, he has a large beaker of water.)

Teacher: “We’re going to do the sodium reaction today.”

Me: *thinking* “Cool, this is a pretty fun experiment.”

(I then watch as he goes to the supply closet, brings out the sealed container, puts on gloves, and proceeds to remove a block of sodium about an inch thick and the size of his palm. I’m waiting for him to remove a small piece of it to begin the experiment, but instead, he grips the whole thing between two fingers, stretches his arm out as far from his body as he can, and drops the whole thing in. The instant he lets go, he starts sprinting towards the supply room.)

Me: “Oh, sh–” 

(I barely have time to say the words, as I, too, dive to get out of the doorway.)

Sodium: “KABOOOM!”

(The sodium reacted predictably, with a massive explosion. Water and glass went everywhere, ceiling tiles got singed, and everyone who didn’t know what to expect started freaking out. I am still amazed that the fire alarm didn’t go off, or that no one called the police.)

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