Buck naked in my chemistry class

The only thing worse than setting my hair on fire

Getting your hair set on fire isn’t the worse thing that can happen to you in my chemistry lab.

My chemistry class has a separate, optional lab component. It’s basically an excuse use to words like, “Titration analysis,” while wearing a cool white lab coat. But before the Chemistry Department entrusts students with chemicals, open flames and acid (sometimes all at once), the laboratory instructor has to go over safety procedures, which includes a discussion of accidents from previous years. Getting your hair set on fire is bad enough. Your lab partner setting your hair on fire, with neither of you noticing for a few minutes, is even worse. Either way, I think the person’s ponytail was morphed into a goat tail by the time anyone noticed.

The laboratory instructor then outlined the emergency protocols if someone spills potentially dangerous chemicals on his or herself.

If you spill something on yourself, you have to — get this — strip completely naked and stand under the emergency shower. After all, what could be worse than getting third degree acid burns all over your body from concentrated hydrochloric acid, right?

I spent a couple of minutes trying to locate the shower stall until it finally dawned on me: there isn’t one. The “emergency shower” is a little shower head. Without any walls. In the middle of the laboratory.