Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Get Your Mojo Rising

Headline: Mercurial dangers for Voodoo followers?

Some practitioners believe that the mercury, which forms tiny droplets in liquid form, can attract love, luck or riches, and even ward off evil, the report said.

But mercury's toxic effects are pronounced in the nervous systems and brains of exposed children, and can damage organs and cause seizures in adults.

One day when I was about 8 years old, I had the bright idea to play sick so I wouldn’t have to go to school. My mom needed to help my brothers and sisters get ready to leave so she told me to take my temperature in the meantime.

When she went into another part of the house, I bolted into the kitchen with the most brilliant plan ever. I flipped the burner of the stove on high, held the thermometer over the flame, and watched as the mercury rose to a suitable stay-home-from-school mark.

Within seconds - PSSSHHHHHH. My eyes were huge, my mouth hung open, and the only thing I held in my hand was a broken piece of glass.

Although that may have seemed like the beginning stages of a voodoo ritual, I would lean more toward a simple state of shock.

The heat caused the thermometer to explode into a million particles of dust, sending mercury and little pieces of glass all over the kitchen floor.

I cleaned up the area as best as I could before her return but didn’t quite finish in time.

Mom: What’s all of this?
Me: I broke the thermometer.
Mom: How in the devil did you do that?
Me: Well, you see, it’s like this... I shook the thermometer to get it back down to the arrow and it flew out of my fingers and crashed onto the floor.
Mom: Gave me a skeptical look before sending me back to bed.

Genius! (insert evil laughter here)

I wouldn’t have felt so smart though had the thing not broken. I don't think I could've come up with a reasonable excuse of why I could still speak sensibly while having a fever of 108°.

This article’s description of the little droplets of mercury reminded me of that time in my life. I’ll never forget those little silvery liquid dots, all shiny and pretty.

As much as I was mesmerized by its beauty and amazed by how it worked like a charm, I didn't make an amulet from it. Mostly because I didn't even know what an amulet was, for one thing, much less how to make one.

Hell, I could barely even make a glass of chocolate milk on my own at that age - Damn those tin caps!

But I guess it didn't really matter anyway because it still brought me luck and warded off evil - evil meaning, 3rd grade math - at least for a day.


Blogger The Phoenix said...

Sounds like a fun science experiment! I have to do it now.

8:23 AM, September 05, 2006  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

HA. I expect a report on your findings! Be careful. :)

11:11 AM, September 05, 2006  
Blogger JohnB said...

While I was in engineering school, we used to have these mercury manometers in the fluids lab...one day someone over pressurized an experiment, and the Hg in the crude tubes (one would think they would have something a little more hi-tech given how much they raised tuition) bursted their reservoirs, spewing the silvery liquid into surreal bouncing balls all over the lab. They cleared everyone out immediately, and a couple hours later a hazmat team came in wearing what looked like spacesuits...and all this wierd looking equipment. I think we didn't get back in there for a week or so...to bad.

3:46 PM, September 05, 2006  
Blogger David Amulet said...

A few months back I dropped a thermometer from a high shelf (don't ask) and it shattered. I spent about half an hour cleaning up the "mercury" with the utmost HAZMAT-like care and ventilation before I realized it was the wrong color, was fully liquid, and wasn't mercury but a safer substance.

-- david

5:21 PM, September 05, 2006  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

John, that seems so Pink Floyd like somehow.

David, all of that trouble for nothing? I certainly wasn't dressed up like a CDC person and I seemed to have turned out okay. (tick, tick)

5:44 PM, September 05, 2006  
Blogger JohnB said...

Oh yes! I forgot to mention this all occurred on the dark side of the moon...

8:19 PM, September 05, 2006  
Blogger Ben said...

Did your mum ever find out the truth OMW ?

4:15 AM, September 06, 2006  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

Ben, it was the 2nd time I ever lied to her at that point, guilt took it's toll...I confessed. :)

5:03 AM, September 06, 2006  
Blogger mindy said...

i have been afraid of mercury since 5th or 6th grade, when a teacher told me that it could be absorbed into the skin and kill you. thanks mrs. woffard...

7:07 AM, September 06, 2006  
Blogger SJ said...

I have burnt my fingers literally during kitchen science experiments.

8:54 AM, September 06, 2006  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

Mindy: Well, she kept you from harm at least, but wait till you hear what Mars and Jupiter could do to you!

SJ: bright side, at least you don't have to worry about leaving fingerprints behind anywhere.

9:18 AM, September 06, 2006  

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