You'd Prefer An Argonaute

Me Blog You Long Time

Posted in Lab Life by YPAA on August 9, 2009

I went to a Catholic high school–a pretty liberal one in Oakland, CA. Every semester we had to take a religion class. (Incidentally, it was also here that my love of biology was precipitated by a wonderful biology teacher. A women at the time, she is now a man–how’s that for a lesson in biology!)

Some of the classes required reading the bible and religious textbooks and such, classes like “Hebrew Scriptures.” Other classes emphasized more general societal and moral themes, classes like “Marriage and Family.” And then there was one class called “Christian Sexuality” that was for all intensive purposes, a sex education class taught by a priest.

My teacher for this course was quite a character. In one class, he brought in the most recent copies of Playboy and Playgirl. The class was split up by sex, and us boys had to look at the Playgirl, and the girls the Playboy. This went on for ~10 excruciating minutes, and then we had a discussion.

The funniest part of this was the story the Father told us about how he bought these magazines. It goes something like this: He, a priest dressed in full regalia, walks into a liquor store, nonchalantly picks up the pair of magazines from the shelf, and walks over to the counter. He lays down the magazines to pay. The Playboy is face up, and the clerk does a double-take upon noticing his customer’s dress. They both somewhat bewilderedly nod in acknowledgment as the clerk scans the Playboy. Upon seeing the Playgirl beneath, the clerk expresses the facial equivalent of throwing one’s arms into the air exclaiming “I give up!”

Anyhow, later in the semester this Father did give us a gem of a piece of advice (especially for a room full of 14-year-olds): Never make an important decision when you are: (1) drunk, (2) horny, (3) depressed.

Here’s a laboratory never list. Based upon your predicted outcome of a new experiment, never: (1) order reagents you will only need if the outcome is met; (2) start round two of the experiment before all results from round one are in; (3) present your preferred outcome, in the form of fake data, in a lab meeting (a guaranteed jinx); (4) plan a vacation.

Confidently predicting experimental outcomes I think must be like novice bull riding. You’ll get bucked around a lot; you can’t predict when you’ll lose control; and don’t make any big plans for right after because after bucking you off, the bull might come back and step on you.

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