Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Science of Lunch

Flip just offered to buy me lunch if I could answer a simple question.

"'What is the universal solvent?"

Um. "Salt?'

"No. Try again."


"NO. It's in every kitchen."

"I never took Chemistry," I mewled. "Clorox?"


"Can you give me a hint?"

"That IS a hint. The question tells you everything you need to know."

"What I know is that I'm going to be hungry for the next three days."

"It's something really basic," he said. I guess he was hungry, too.


Bingo. I should have guessed. He just washed the dishes.

In all the schools I attended, I managed never to take Chemistry. I took Earth Science courses instead to fulfill my college admission requirements.

My only scientific experiment in 9th grade consisted of mixing together peroxide and ammonia to bleach my hair. Then I studied the effects of mercurochrome on blondish hair. It turned a lovely shade of pink. My father hacked it off to teach me a lesson. I looked as if I'd had a fatal run-in with a lawn mower.

Science hasn't worked out really well for me.


Lee said...

Chemistry's for losers. :)

Pickled Olives said...

Only thing dye jobs ever taught me was to avoid bleaching dark eyebrows. They (eyebrow hair) fall out randomly a give a fabulous checkerboard look as they grow back.

Island Spice said...

I second Lee. Came here via Lex.
Love your fortune cookie quote. That'll be my mantra for a lil while. Still laughing from your Hummer post..........

Lex said...

Oh Sweet Jesus!! Heart, I would run from science too!! But I am fascinated by changes in hair color via household products.

Again, my mom would have thought the pink hair was funny. And 20 years later she'd be trying for dear life to activate her Kegel's to keep her from wetting herself as she told the story.

I avoided college chemistry like the plague. I took agronomy instead. I had blades of grass collected from campus in my notebook: tall fescue, kentucky blue grass...all kinds of stuff.

So? What did you get for lunch?

heartinsanfrancisco said...




Hmm, interesting. I don't color my hair because I never could decide on a color. But my dark eyebrows have recently been infiltrated with white hairs which do give a strange but decidedly UNfabulous effect.

Island Spice,

Welcome. Any friend of Lex's is a friend of mine!

Make good use of the fortune cookie mantra.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Hey! We were just talking about you. Did your ears burn?

Your mom is very cool. Having you for a daughter must have taxed her Kegels mightily.

Those are not the kinds of grass I remember from college.

Lex said...

Ha! I have never smoked weed (or pot or whatever they call it these days)!

I can't explain how I've made it this far in life without the experience. But I'm realizing more and more than I am a vanishing breed.

I inherited an outrageous, boisterous, unmistakable laugh from my mom. People have heard me laugh in public and come over to me to ask if I'm Geri's daughter. I also, unfortunately, inherited her incontinence. I must laugh out loud. If I'm forced to hold it in, I'll wet them. Guaranteed.

Friends used to fan me in church so that others would think I was crying. I was crying...from laughter. I just can't contain myself if I find something funny.

Michael C said...

I thought it was Coca-Cola. The CHP supposedly uses it to clean blood off of the highway after bad accidents.

Of course water made the Grand Canyon. Ok, you win!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Laughing in church is probably a major no-no. My overdeveloped sense of the absurd always kicks in when it's most inappropriate.

The few times I tried pot, it didn't do anything for me. I felt really inadequate over this.


They use Coke to clean off the blood? I can't stand the stuff, but I've heard that a tooth left in it all night will completely dissolve by morning. Nice.

Christina_the_wench said...

But, but we made peanut brittle in chemistry. That shit was good too. *sheepishly* Ok, I cheated on all of the chemistry tests my Senior year, but cmon! Peanut brittle!

Odat said...

Oh I too have been the mad scientist when it comes to hair color....I must have had every color under and over the rainbow!
I once had to call the "hair hotline" to find out how to undo my "pumpkin orange hair!!!! lol
I get it "done" now by "Dallas", a "colorist" here in NYC. (Yeah they go to school just to learn color!!! He doesn't cut either!...
(Yes I'm that indulgent these days)

mist1 said...

I look adorable in safety goggles.

That's really hard to do.

urban-urchin said...

Honey, I am surprised there was any hair left for your dad to hack off.

My mother and father were both big into chemistry. Me? meh- but I liked biology (WAY more than physics that's for damn sure). My dad tells me storys about using all his allowance as a kid to buy chemicals to experiment and if he didn't like one of his mom's friends he would concoct a nasty smelling mixture that would promptly drive all vistiors from the house. He ended up a petroleum engineer....

heartinsanfrancisco said...


What did you make in Home Ec. -- pipe bombs?


A colorist named Dallas is to NYC like peanut brittle is to Chemistry class.


Yes. It is.
Just come along real easy now and no one will get hurt.


Your dad found his calling early.

When I was little, I wanted a chemistry set like my brother's but instead, I got a nurse's kit with fake pills and a few bandaids. I gave it away because it didn't DO anything, while he got to build atom bombs in his room.

My mother tried to interest me in cross stitch next. Cross stitch ain't shit compared to things that go BOOM.

Nihilistic said...

I hated Chemistry...I hated it even more because my teacher who looked just like a mole with his beedie eyes and his protruding navel that you could see even through his sweaters...EWWWWWW

Anonymous said...

A guy would get this no problem because we don't over-think the question. I.e., asked what do you want for dinner:

Woman: Runs through 497 different possible food items.

Man says, "Beer".

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I knew him. He was Headmaster at the boarding school my parents banished me to until they realized I could underachieve cheaper in public school. We called him "The Mole."

I understand about Chemistry. I had a piano teacher who spat when she talked. I couldn't play and dodge spittle at the same time.


So you're saying that beer is the universal solvent? You're probably right.

Anonymous said...

Yes, beer is *the* universal solvent.

Try it on you man -- it'll work.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


If I decide to dissolve myself in something, it won't be beer. It smells nasty, for one thing.

I will need something that smells good.

~Macarena~ said...

Pink hair is cool!

School experiments are awesome! They choose the ones that will appeal to most kids. I miss my goggles. The book-larnin' wasn't fun, but I think I might like it now. If I'd had the option to study forensics, I wouldn't have been anti-science most of my life.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I see I gave the wrong impression about my hair experiment. It wasn't assigned by a teacher - I just happened to be in 9th grade at the time. 13-year old girls are adventurous.

Kristi said...

Looking around my kitchen, I would've said "dirt?", or "mold?", or "yesterday's breakfast dishes?"

I'm pretty sure yesterday's breakfast dishes are also the universal solvent.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Those would have been good answers, too. Any day, now, we're switching to paper plates.

Thanks for your visit! I ckecked out your blog and it's great. I'll be back often.

djn said...

I thought it was baking soda... Clearly I am not the scientific type.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


That was one of my guesses, but then I remembered that it's sodium bicarbonate, ie. salt. Which I'd already flunked out with.

Oh, the challenges.


I managed to take chemistry several times and still know nothing. Once the final exam was over all the knowledge left my mind. I'm sure there must be some sort of a scientific explanation for this sort of thing because I believe it's quite common. :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm sure there IS a scientific explanation for this, which you probably once knew but have forgotten.