Will Periodically Break Things

, , , , , | Learning | October 25, 2018

(In high school, pretty much everyone loves our chemistry teacher. He is very involved with lessons, and always makes sure to make them interesting; the first day of class, he demonstrates just how flammable hydrogen is by lighting some up! He even puts on clips from “The Simpsons” and “Futurama” in class sometimes, pointing out how the guys behind them really know their stuff when it comes to science. He also has a good sense of humor. One day, we’re starting to learn about the periodic table, starting with the first twenty elements. He has a large periodic table hung up on the side wall, and one of my classmates gets bored and starts playing around with it.)

Teacher: “[Student], don’t do that. You’ll break it.”

Student: “I’m not going to break it.”

(Literally two seconds later, the cord holding it up snaps and it falls onto the floor. Everyone stares at him.)

Student: “I’m never going to live this down, am I?”

Teacher: “No. No, you’re not.”

(He doesn’t. The next day, we are working with Bunsen burners for the first time. The teacher is going over the safety instructions.)

Teacher: “So, you want to be really careful with these. You don’t want to break any of these beakers. Like when [Student] broke the periodic table.”

(It became a running gag after that. Every day, someone would bring it up for a laugh. He knew it was a joke, and he was a bit of a class clown, anyway, so he took it in stride. But even now, years after we’ve graduated and the teacher retired, leaving his son to teach in his place, we still haven’t let him live it down.)

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