Twist in the tube

Not long after leaving school, I got the job of lab. assistant, for ABM.  My job was to analyze grains for the production of beer and whiskey.  I was very puffed up with self importance, even though I was constantly having to leave the lab, walk down the hall to my boss and ask how to do the calculations.  {this being pre computer days}  I had a bank of test tubes over burners, into which I had to put some grain and five drops of hydrochloric acid, which I then cooked.  The steam went up and over the equipment, via lengths of rubber tubing and the resultant distilled liquid collected in another set of test tubes, ready for analysis.  Well, one day, feeling a tad groggy from the night before, I got one of my rubber tubes twisted.  You could hear the resultant explosion down the hall, where I was, once again pestering my boss.  I had destroyed the apparatus and we had acid dripping from the ceiling for a day.  I should have been sacked but I think my boss had a soft spot for me.  I never lived it down, though.I got married a year later and never went back to that sort of work… surprise really.



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10 responses to “Twist in the tube

  1. Louise

    Ohhh that’s interesting Pen, I bet you’ve chuckled about that for years lol. I liked chemistry as a kid, I remember getting a chemistry set for christmas one year. I had this horrible pink outfit and one day I turned some of it blue, me mum was not impressed but I wasn’t bothered, pink was never my colour lmao Bright Blessings xxx

  2. Paul

    You didn’t explain why you were "a tad groggy from the night before"?

  3. Unknown

    PMSL… I had this complete flash back to working as a biology and chem lab assistant three mornings a week one semester. Part of the bio course was breeding fruit flies and required me using ether… which made me sleepy. I could barely keep my eyes open for a couple of hours after. So, when the next semester came along and I was offered the chance to stay in the position, I respectfully declined. I became a janitor at a small office building that housed a dentist and psychiatrist group.

  4. .

    Takes me back to school Physics lessons and ‘innocent’ hands turning the gas taps on and seeing how much damage we could do to any type of measuring or recording device. Some of those children now are no doubt highly respected scientists…


    When I first started work, I was in analytical chemistry, although a lot of people do not know that and I worked at first out on the oil rigs in the North Sea and very good money it was… But eventually I was seduced back to the land by a female… I never married this female and I have never earned so much money since… Somewhere there is a moral in that hahhaha….

  6. ..

    Who wouldn’t have a soft sport for you Pen!hehehe … I would have never guessed you … bringing down the house …. LOL.Why is it every time I hear the word beer, I get a smile on my face, no matter the story?hehehe … take care and have a wonderful week!!!! LOVE, alex xxx

  7. ..

    hey you down there … see …. if yoou did not analyze the chemistry to well ….ufffffffff , what a women can do? and the moral is …. hahahaha …. just laugh at it LOL

  8. Jennifer

    Dear Pen, your unique job experience reminds me of the many scenes in Harry Potter, way too familiar… It’s a pity you never went back again, otherwise you might develop into a real scientist! I always admire people working in the lab. Sincerely hope you have a better job now. Jen


    @ Alex Pop Hahaha I got the next one right though, as she is still putting up with me after 33yrs, some experiments fail but research is all about perseverance and keeping going into the face of all the contary evidence…

  10. Happy

    OGoodness. Realize quite serious but hear the humour. & what a reminder of life pre-computer days. Best week to you Penny.

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