Mercury in the News

So some high school kids round these parts (put a twang on that, would
you?) stole mercury from their school lab. Okay, bravo. Those supply
rooms for the labs are a fool’s paradise and, trust me, I’m a fool. I
know. I have a box in the basement full of corks, those little knife
things and a bottle of acid that I fully intend to throw in George
Bush’s face one day. We don’t have enough acid attacks these days.

So these yahoos, to use an official term, took, like, lots of mercury
and stuff. That’s about what everyone says. I’ve been waiting and
waiting for someone to say how much they stole. A vat? A jar? A wee
little thimbleful? We don’t get it. We get, “They stole mercury.” NPR
gagged up the story I think. Then, the newscaster said the kids were
throwing mercury around and, briefly, I became concerned about the
order of things in the solar system. Get it? Because Mercury is also a

Well, laugh.

Then again, I was hungover. Hard to say if I missed key words in the newscast. Hard to say if it really happened.

These kids steal themselves a bunch of mercury and what’s the first
thing they do? Instead of playing the mercury games that we all played
(watch it roll down my arm! HAHAHAHA! Here, can I put it in your mouth?
Okay! Hold still! HAHAHAHA!) they fling it all over the place. Like open the jar and spin around as if it were paint or something.

That’s not why you steal mercury. That’s why you steal industrial
railroad paint. Mercury is a neato toy that behaves oddly when you poke
it, industrial railroad paint has one purpose: fucking up buildings.

But, wait, mercury fucks up buildings in 2003! That’s right. The high
school is closed down because of dem dere mercury fumes. Men in white
suits have to go clean it out. Then the police trace the mercury to an
apartment and they close that down to.

Oddly enough, the students remain at large. With…da-da-dum…more mercury. Watch out for your daughters, America! Vote Bush!

Now, back in my day, when high schoolers were real
high schoolers, we were given mercury in Earth Science Lab. There was
nothing about it. Here’s your Petri dish with a little dollop of
mercury. Be careful, class. I’m going to hit the bathroom for a few
minutes. NO SPITBALLS! And we all sat there and said, hey, watch how
this mercury rolls around this open cut in my arm, tee hee! When teach
came back, we did various experiments that I can’t remember because I
was poisoned and… No, wait, because it was long ago. Yeah, that’s it.
Not being satisfied with that, we all went home and smashed open
thermometers. Mercury games at home!

Our parents came back and said, “What the fuck are you doing? Mercury
games? Jesus Christ, the thermometer will be replaced…out of your
allowance!” Da-da-dum! Then we’d smash open the replacement
thermometers. See, the allowance threat doesn’t work. You have to go to
stage two, which is extreme physical abuse. That’s the problem with
America today. Nobody moves to stage two. But let me tell you, in all
these years, I have not broken a third thermometer. Though, whenever I
see a thermometer, I fall to the floor crying and clawing at my face.

Ha, ha, ha. No, really.

That’s my high school experience. Asbestos, lead, mercury, pesticide
over-application, carbon monoxide, windows painted shut… And I turned
out okay!

So mi qestin is wat do murkry vayprs do to u? oh no! algernon iz ded!

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