Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Dangers of Boredom

I’ve always heard that it’s dangerous to let a child get bored. I have discovered that a bored child will try to cut off his finger with a wire snips. A bored child will paint black tiger stripes on his face that will not come off before Sunday church service. And a bored child will take fish out of the fish tank so they can watch television with him. It’s best to prevent boredom in children.

But children aren’t the only who succumb to boredom. It is the bane of chemists too. I’ve wondered how come I’ve known so many chemists in my lifetime. In our small church we have a scary percentage of the congregation that are chemists, chemistry professors, or chemistry majors. A bored chemist can curl your hair, literally. One chemist friend got bored in grad school and burned off his eyelashes and eyebrows. Unintentionally, of course.

Blowing up things is also extremely popular. One of Luke’s profs got bored and blew up a lake. I guess it’s one way to make the sky rain fish. Unfortunately, the police got involved.

Luke, our chemistry major son, is a teaching assistant in a chem lab, which was recently re-opened after being gutted. One day the prof and Luke got bored. They realized that they’d never tried the new eyewash/shower. (If you a non-science person, it’s the place you go when things explode and your eyelashes, eyebrows, and clothing begin burning off.) Anyway, Luke and his prof decided they had to make sure eyewash/shower functioned properly. Besides they were interested in how the new piping worked. So they pulled the cord. The water coursed through the pipes and spat out the valves and onto the floor. At which point, they discovered that the floor didn’t have a drain. Not long afterwards they discovered a mop and were no longer bored. I’m hopeful they stay very busy for the rest of the year. Perhaps they should study English. English majors/profs are never bored—there are always more books to read.


  1. Haha.

    Yes...I am getting that deja vu feeling about that fish tank story...

    Bored children also color in their eye sockets with a purple permanent marker before the family goes to a restaurant.
    I've heard they even drink paint thinner.

  2. I work in a building with labs--and their showers don't have drains either...encouragement not to use them for anything but emergencies, perhaps? Can't just skip the shower at home and pop into the one in the lab?

  3. I should simply hope that your examples of boredom from the beginning paragraph occurred when the children much younger. You'd think Jake would have learned not to paint his face by this age!!

    (Seriously, however, which one decided to watch television with the fish?)

  4. LOL! Thanks for the laugh. And here I thought chemists were boring. Now I see them in a whole new light!

  5. That story was so funny. Especially the no drain part!

  6. @Andrew McPherson.
    I think it was my brother who done the fish in.

  7. Honestly, one of my bio friends and I desperately wanted to test out the safety showers at Covenant. We never did however...we realized that if the building leaked when it rained, it would probably leak when hundreds of gallons of water come down, and therefore we would ruin the bio labs located directly under the chem labs.
    It's true should never leave a bored biologist or chemist alone, because we will find something to do, and it will likely be dangerous or destructive. :)

  8. @Grace Duke.
    Ah. So it's a "second hand" story.

  9. Normally I try to protect the guilty as well as the innocent. :) However, in the spirit of full disclosure, the fish guy was Sam Duke. The other examples were from one of my children (and not Jacob).