Please visit our new site!


Some of my best friends are scientists

True confessions of a lab hag

Frankie P. 7 March 2005

The Lab Hag inspecting the goods

They show me round their labs and give me radioactive things to hold...

I’m in a smoky bar on a Saturday night. There’s a discussion about colds going on and I so badly want to chip in about how I often catch a cold from my perfume. But not now. I’m with my Scientist Friends (SF) and they know better. My lay crowd (LC) would marvel at the revelation and ask me specific details and, more importantly, believe me. Not so the SFs.

I do catch a cold from my perfume sometimes, though. If I spray on too much (in winter especially) it careers up my nose into the part of my brain that controls influenza, makes me sneeze with more intensity than usual and I come down with a cold. It’s happened too often for it to be coincidence. It’s True Scientific Fact (TSF).

With my SFs I’ve wised up to when to interject. In the early days I blundered out these evidently idiotic TSFs fearlessly. Eating tomatoes makes my tear ducts overproduce. My hair grows faster if I shampoo three times when washing. But like a laboratory mouse, I’ve learnt now not to make myself the subject of ridicule.

Recently, in a curry house with the LC, we debated at length why chilli makes you sweat. It’s a different kind of hot. There is hot-spicy and hot-heat. Why do the two meet in curry houses? We decided that chilli must act something like topical creams like Deep Heat® which we were also at a loss to explain biologically except to say one should never touch one’s eyes or genitalia with a Deep-Heated® hand or one recently exposed to a chilli. The topic drew to a natural close aside from a slight niggling thought, soon forgotten, that no conclusions had been reached.

And this is exactly why I hang out with the SFs. Conundrums like the Curry House Dilemma, the Hair-Loss-Linked-To-Eggs-In-Diet Conviction and the Pain-In-Chest-Not-A-Heart-Attack Fright are always satisfactorily laid to rest. That and the fact that they show me round their labs and give me radioactive things to hold.

Oh, and best of all, they bring blocks of dry ice to parties.

Other articles by Frankie P.