Friday, August 19, 2011

How Webster Ruined My Career In Science

Webster is the reason I am not a famous scientist who has cured cancer or invented death rays. This has to do with the episode in which Webster played with his chemistry set without parental oversight and burned his house to the ground.

My aunt gave me a chemistry set for my seventh birthday, and my parents wouldn't let me use it unless they were there to help me, which they were never willing to do. Whenever I asked, they put it off and diverted me to other pastimes. Perhaps it was too difficult to set up and clean. Maybe they were afraid I'd poison myself with sodium biociroid (a chemical I just made up, because I had to, being that I am a writer and know nothing about chemical names) and it would be their fault because they allowed me to try to make a volcano out of it.

I could have been rebellious and played with the set on my own, but then came that Webster episode, scaring me crooked. I was so fearful that I too would incinerate my home that I let the set sit on a shelf inside my closet.

Years later, maybe when I was 16 or so, the Webster effect had worn off and I thought I would take out that set and finally get to chemistry-ing. By then I was already committed to study non-scientific things, but perhaps some re-ignited interest in the subject at the time could have steered me in the right direction before I hit college.

I opened each container and found nothing but congealed liquids and powders. The chemicals had all wasted away, as had my chances at Nobel Prizes or Death Ray Monthly Man of the Years. The following year I took a chemistry class and dropped it after a couple weeks because I couldn't wrap my malformed, un-scientifically stimulated brain around the concept of what a mole was.

The moral of this story is that every good person who dies of cancer and every bad person who lives to terrorize the earth because I was unable to invent a death ray to stop them has my parents to partially to blame. But mostly Webster.

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