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I've read this book a dozen times

  1. #1
    mostly because I usually have it saved on a device

    It's about an old fat jedi that sails boats and makes chemicals before a time of EPA regulations

    Come on boys," I said, "pick someone to help your poor old boss. I'm going back to the bench."

    There was shocked silence from my audience —then

    "You is? Mr. Max? You know you can't work in them labs since you got sick from methyl iodide. It'll kill you for sure." I am a thespian, easily moved to tears, as for example when facing a woman who has taken off her clothes and then, overcome by conscience, puts them on again. Or, as in the present case, facing the awful problem of making methyl iodide, my old nemesis.

    I thought about weighing out the iodine, adding the methyl alcohol, and then slowly adding the phosphorus. In memory I resmelled the pungent lethal odor of this devil which quaternizes the amines in one's cerebellum. I relived the loss of memory, the inability to write, to stand up straight, to enunciate. I choked up in horror.

    "Look at Mr. Max, Tommy. He's feeling awful bad." Mr. Max was not just "milking his lines," he was reliving his awful months of methyl iodide poisoning. "Just send one man, boys, to show me what to do. I love you all. I don't blame you a bit for quitting. We'll always be friends." "Come see me, boys, and if I am dead, stop by and see my mother. If any of you come home on vacation and have some free time stop by the plant and help Leon with the cats. My mama will be awfully grateful, boys. It's terrible to be poor." "I know how hard you've worked. If it's cold in the North, I'll recommend you for jobs at DuPont and Westinghouse even though they're laying off good men and have a job freeze. Things will be better next Spring when the ice melts and you can go out without wearing three sweaters. Come see old Max, boys, if I'm still around.
  2. #2
    They were great at clearing a building on fire. Experience sharpened their wits and rendered them fleet. Each knew where the extinguishers were stored and when to use chemicals and when to use wet sand. They worked as a team, facing the flames completely without fear. "Alright fellows — let's get this one 'fore it spreads. It'll take that Veterans Hospital fire engine too long to get here." "Sonny, you get Old Big Boy" (the affectionate name for our largest fire extinguisher which like a cannon traveled on wheels). "Ervie Lee, man, get a move on with that sand. Sand, fellow; not water! You know you cant put out a phosphorus fire with water."
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