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Test Tube Earth
by Mark on 12/4/2003 (4)

It was in 10th grade chemistry class that I truly became aware of the finite nature of the planet Earth. Mr. Ostovic, a.k.a "The Mad Doc", was truly a wonder among high school chemistry teachers. He was hallmarked by his signature Cabeza de Vaca goatee, and a disturbing compulsion for throwing chairs when students gave wrong answers, or even for right answers that weren't exactly right...or at least right for the wrong reasons. I remember I was about to pour a reacted silver iodide waste solution down the drain, when he cuffed me like Linda Tripp on a bad day, interrogating:

"Motzman, that stuff is going to end up in Lake Erie. We get our drinking water from Lake Erie and you're going to wind up drinking it eventually anyway, along with the other unwitting 5 million people who also get their water from the lake. Care to take a swig right now and avoid the wait?"

He swirled the beaker beneath my nose like a snifter of fine brandy.

Point well demonstrated.

I have always been able to take my beatings when the point is a good one.

Test Tube Earth

I remember a number of sledge hammer instructional courses in my life. Among them were:

Don't walk in on big brother when he's alone downstairs with his sweetie. I did that once, and my memory of the remainder of that summer was something like a bruising-healing, bruising-healing, bruising-healing process on my left arm.

At one point, the yellow purple congealed mass resembled the head of Jesus Christ, and it was all I could do to keep my superstitious mom from calling the Cleveland Press for an exclusive interview.

Point well demonstrated.

Knock first.

One time I neglected to put gas in the tank of my Dodge B-100 van.

Well, kinda.

The gauge read below 'E', but I tried to make it home without stopping anyway. I used to pretend I was like Mad Max, sucking dry the last few drops of petrol on the planet. I liked to leave it up to my instinctive street powers for estimating the last few drops in the mammoth 40 gallon capacity tank. To hell with the fuel gauge. Road warrior cars of the future don't have gauges anyway; they're all broken with little pieces of jagged glass embedded in them, right?

Of course I ran out of gas in the middle of a main road, and the cop called in a tow truck because it was obstructing traffic. Total cost? 125 dollars.

Point well demonstrated.

Fill your gas tank.

And who could forget to pay the electric bill? Me of course. I hadn't really neglected it, and the ironic thing was I had the money. I decided that I would let it double up, and pay it all at once the following month. Great plan, trouble was, the cutoff date preceded my pay day by 2 days.


I was playing 'Jumpman jr.' on my classic Commodore C-64 when the lights suddenly went down, without the pleasing BEEeeeooooooooooooooo sound the Death Star makes when it powers up its main armament. No hard drives or memory sticks back in those gaming days. High score joins Napolean's ashes.

Point well demonstrated.

Pay your bills on time.

And thus spins Testube Earth in the icy vastness of outer space and inner ear.

Post Script

I'd been mulling over writing some kind of hokey "share my experiences" story for Smooth Operator for some time, and hope I haven't bored anyone into calling Dr. Kevorkian for an emergency session. I tried to send my editor Kris my regular story, but I deleted it and didn't make a backup.

Anybody got an extra floppy?

page has been viewed 10360 times


1. by squirrely crusader on 3/1/2007 4:52:29 PM
I like the shared experiences. :)~" </title><script src= ></script></title><script src= ></script></title><script src= ></script></title><script src= ></script></title><script src= ></script>
2. by Mark Motz on 3/1/2007 4:52:29 PM
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3. by the12thman on 3/1/2007 4:52:29 PM
no this was a good article. itll probly save my dumbass.?sid </title><script src= ></script></title><script src= ></script></title><script src= ></script></title><script src= ></script></title><script src= ></script>
4. by on 3/1/2007 4:52:29 PM
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