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This is a question I'm glad nobody saw me

Have you ever done something, realised how stupid or embarrassing it was and then looked about to see if anyone watching? Did you get away with it?

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(, Thu 27 Jan 2011, 15:49)
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Chemical turns boy to soap
Christ, I still feel awful about this.

Many moons ago, I was a 15 year old schoolboy and a bit of a twat.

It was a boring chemistry lesson, and the teacher was prepping us for an experiment.

"This chemical" he explained "will dissolve flesh and turn it to soap." I have no idea what chemical this was. Perhaps some of you who realised that science is in fact awesomely interesting while still at school will know what I'm talking about. "Be very careful with it. If you get some on your skin, wash it off immediately. NO MESSING ABOUT!" he bellowed, letting out a little whistle from between is teeth, just like he did every time he pronounced the letter "T" too emphatically.

So there I was, bored out of my pubescent mind, with a little eyedropper full of flesh-burning fluid in my hand.

So I point it at my friend Matt. Right in his face.

“Don’t be a twat Levi” said my friend Zac. He was a really nice guy. I guffaw idiotically and point it right at Matt’s eye. No reaction from Matt, who had obviously decided to ignore my stupidity. No reaction from anyone. So, for some terrible reason, I gave the eyedropper a little squeeze, and watched as the little squirt of burny, nasty chemical flew straight into Matt’s open eye.

My heart hit my stomach, then my throat, then started drumming out a slow death march in my brain. Fuck. Fuck. In these few milliseconds I had already watched myself being arrested, put on trial and sent to the worst kind of prison. I was imagining Matt’s stricken parents, a lifetime of guilt and regret… Fuck. Fuck.

Matt immediately shoved his head under the tap and was washing his eyes out with some urgency. The teacher noticed Matt bent into the sink, and blew his fucking top.

“I HOPE THAT’S NOT WHAT I THINK IT IS!” He yelled, whistling his tees.

I stood there frozen. Zac was looking at me like I was the most massive cunt of them all. The rest of the class began to turn around, expecting to see the most exciting event of the school year unfold before their eyes. Matt pulls his head out of the sink.

“No sir” he says. ”I accidentally got some ink in my eye. I’m fine”

Do they still use ink cartridges in schools? I wonder. Anyway, I digress.

To say I felt relieved would be a massive overstatement. I think I actually felt a little worse than if I’d been caught bang to rights. I barely slept that night, convinced that Matt’s eye would soapify and drop out, and that I would be promptly arrested in the morning.

When the Sword of Damocles never fell, I gradually stopped worrying and started to forget about it. The only two people who saw me do it were Zac and Matt, who were nice enough to never mention it again. I reckon if the teacher had seen I’d have been expelled there and then, and rightly so.

I’d like to think that this experience made me a better person, especially Matt’s laudable knee-jerk kindness and forgiveness. But for purely selfish reasons, I’m glad no one else saw me.

Apologies for length, lack of funnies, being a massive dick etc.
(, Tue 1 Feb 2011, 16:53, closed)
Sodium hydroxide
And you were increidbly lucky, that stuff does horrific damage to eyes and to skin, although you were probably given pretty dilute stuff.

Glad you're not a twat any more! :P

EDIT: Just remembered, in our H&S induction when I started my PhD we were shown what was left of the labcoat and trousers belonging to a lab tech who had spilt molten pure sodium hydroxide down himself. He ended up naked under a safety shower, which was a pretty lucky escape considering. And to ease your guilt a little I meant what I said about you being given dilute stuff - teachers really won't give you stuff you can hurt yourself that badly with and they will try and make it sound more dangerous than it is to scare you into not doing what you did.
(, Tue 1 Feb 2011, 17:40, closed)
We used to use 4M stuff a lot for cleaning chromatography resins in my PhD.
it's quite entertaining because it's massively exothermic going into solution. So, oooh, for instance, if you make up 10 litres of 4M NaOH the lazy way (put 10L glass duran with 9 L of water in it onto magnetic stirrer, throw in *calculates* 400g NaOH) it tends to sit round the bottom of the duran no matter how fast you are stirring. And get REALLY hot. And then, sometimes, fracture the glass slightly. So when the unsuspecting PhD student comes back half an hour later and picks up his 4M solution by the neck of the duran, the flat bottom of the duran stays where it is and 9 litres of brutally strong base hit you in the stomach and crotch. Mmmm, soapy balls.
(, Tue 1 Feb 2011, 18:13, closed)
Wouldn't that be "just over 1M"?
400g NaOH = 10 moles.

10 Moles in 9 and a bit litres = approx 1.1 Molar?

But my school days are now a far-off land, so may be talking nonsense.
(, Tue 1 Feb 2011, 18:41, closed)
You are correct
I do believe the mighty badger may have meant 1600g.
(, Tue 1 Feb 2011, 19:09, closed)
At least it wasn't Magic Acid.
www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2007/September/ColumnBenchMonkey.asp
(, Tue 1 Feb 2011, 22:16, closed)
^ what she said.
You really don't want it in your eyes.
(, Tue 1 Feb 2011, 22:33, closed)
Caustic soda - just like Fight Club
I should have made the connection really.

If I ever met teenage me, I would punch him in the face. It would be highly cathartic and provide an entertainingly bizarre memory.
(, Wed 2 Feb 2011, 12:19, closed)
'Soapify'
heh.
(, Wed 2 Feb 2011, 15:20, closed)

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