Lino's Epic Science Battle Against the Evil Flasks

10:25 PM Marcellino DAmbrosio 1 Comments




The D'Ambrosio's, for the most part, have never been an intensely science mathy left brainy organizy family. After the first three kids graduated with degrees in literature, philosophy, and then literature, it has been left up to Cristina and Nick to do something piratical with their lives. Everyone thinks Nick will do great things.
(he actually got an A in algebra).

He's going to go far in life.

 It seems that out of all the siblings, I am the absolute worst at the practicals. I'd like to tell you a story to illustrate my own inability, and by doing so, entertain you greatly.

My sophomore year at Ave, I promised my mother I would get A in biology. She laughed. It was not exactly a vote of confidence. Who could blame her though? Class was Monday Wednesday Friday at 8:15 in the morning. I still don't get up that early. Let alone for lecture hall powerpoints on the inner workings of ATP. But I was not dismayed. Professor Davis wasn't exactly consistent with his role calls. On the first day of class, he told us that his tests would be similar to the tests on the study disk that came with our $200 biology text book. I decided studying that test instead of going to class would be a far more efficacious method of inquiry. After taking the first test and scoring far higher than any of my class going classmates, I stopped going to class entirely. I was made. This was going to be such a great semester. But alas, there was one biology period I couldn't get away with missing, or faking. Lab.

Yes, lab was my greatest fear, my greatest nemesis,  the one class that I couldn't talk, study, or charm my way around. Applied science. The place where exact measurements, test tubes, bunson burners, dead organs, putrid orders, and chemical fires abound. Here, there was no hiding my absolute inability. After failing to measure 54 ounces with my pipette on the first day of lab, I was forsaken by my classmates. I was abandoned, cast aside, tossed to the wolves-the wolves being my good friend and fellow lab failure, Daniel Schnaider.



Now, all the labs called for groups of three. The way it broke down, for each lab project, there would be 5 groups of three and one group of two. Guess who was the group of two every time? The two people who seemed to be constantly breaking flasks, setting desks on fire, and in general causing great terror in the classroom.I still have many battle scars from that time, and every time I see a test tube I grab the nearest inoculating loop and go on a postal rampage, but outside of the PTSD induced nightmares, my psychiatrist tells me I'm recovering well.


One war story, however, stands out among the rest. One fateful Thursday, Schneider and I looked at each other awkwardly as all the other lab members found their groups. General Davis stood before the group to give us today's battle briefing. Today, we would be cutting up spinach leaves with a hole puncher, putting them in a flask with 4 ounces of water, sucking the air from them (so they would sink to the bottom), and recording how long it took for the leaves to re-oxigenate (or whatever) and rise back to the surface. It's among the greatest mysteries of the universe. We were privileged to get to solve such an enigma. “Before you begin, my students,” he said, “when you go to the vacuum to suck the air out of the flasks, make sure you are wearing your eye protection. I've never see it happen in all my 20 years of teaching, but flasks have been recorded to shatter when the vacuum is activated.”

Stop me if you know where this is going!

So Daniel and I rush to the fight, punching holes in our five spinach leaves like there is no tomorrow. We aren't the first to get all 50 spinach circles, but we aren't the last. Upon our completion, Shnaider gleefully rushed to the vacuum, but alas, like so many young lads, he rushed headlong to his demise. Not fast enough, in slow motion, I reached out for his shoulder, yelling “Shnaider, you forgot your eye protection!” (I've always been a bit too concerned with safety, it's a bit of a character flaw).
I was too late.

He connected the flask to the vacuum and flipped that fateful switch. He was only 20 years old. 

He was JUST A BOY!

The flask exploded.

When I say exploded, I mean exploded. The class was shocked. It was all confusion for what seamed like an eternity. A girl screamed, men ducked under desks, and I fell over onto the floor laughing so hard that I almost peed my pants.

The general was less than enthused. “What the hell did you do Schneider?” Schneider still stood there in shock, holding the tip of the flask, his white lab coat covered in little spinach circles. “And you, D'Ambrosio, wipe that silly grin off your face. You have 50 more spinach circles to cut.” I stopped laughing immediately. “DAMNIT SCHNEIDER!” I yelled. “It took us an HOUR to cut that many!”

He was unapologetic. Said something about how he almost died or some crap. I wasn't moved. We spent the next hour trying to cut new holes out of our already torn up leaves. By the time we finished, most of the other groups had already finished the experiment and gone off to run amok. Schnaider was just about to get up to take the flask over to the vaccum, when I heroically volunteered to take his place and risk my well being at ground zero. “I better take this one, Schnaider,” I said, “I don't want to be here cutting holes out of spinach for the rest of the day.” I grabbed the flask and swaggered over to the vacuum. I attached its rubber mouth to the vaccum, and just as I was about to flip the switch, I thought the following thought: “Dr. Davis hasn't seen this ever happen in all 20 years of his teaching? What are the chances it would happen twice in one day?”

Yeah. Who wants to guess what happened next?



It was Schneider's turn to laugh. I wasn't wearing eye protection ether. The general was PISSED. This was the 8th flask we'd broken up to this point. He told us that we were single highhandedly funding Flasks Inc, and that he would stand for no more tom foolery. If only he knew the truth- that Schneider and I simply were the worst two students that he had ever had in 20 years of teaching. There was no mischeif happening here, no malicious intent. We just were really, really bad at biology. And now, our five spinach leaves were history.

Ahhhh that was a knee slapper. History! I crack myself up.

We had no more leaves, and by this time, the other groups were well on their way to curing cancer. They had thrown their spinach leaves away eons ago. But I was not to be kept down! Oh no! Not this man. I once saw a motivational poster that said “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” and I was going! I refused to surrender this lab to a few green smears that once were spinach! Cue inner dialogue. “It probably doesn't matter what kind of leaves we cut up,” I thought to myself, “This is a photosynthesis lab, after all.”I nodded to myself in agreement, and then casually walked over to the windowsill, upon which stood several different species of flower. I had never seen any of them before. I stole a few leaves from one plant (which seemed overy leafy), and brought them over to Schnaider. He was ever the observant bastard, and upon seeing them, he spouted “Dr. Davis, aren't these leaves from your plant over there?!” There has never been another moment in my life where I have wanted to kill a man so much.

This was a close second, though.
Dr Davis lost his cool. He yelled at me, told me that we were the worst students he'd ever had- which apparently is no exaggeration- and filled me in on the details. Apparently the plant I had stolen the leaves from was an endangered species that grows only on the Island of Simoa. Taking leaves from it at its infant stage could be deadly. This was the only specimen of its kind in America, and I had just delivered its death sentence. He dismissed us early that day. We never did get to solve that great mystery, about which we all wonder desperately. 

Mommy, how long does it take for photosynthesis to oxygenate a leaf of spinach?
Let's be real. It's every child's first question, isn't it?



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1 comment:

  1. Dude. I haven't laughed so hard in a LONG. LONG. TIME. (Of course, it helps that I was right there...)

    ReplyDelete