Friday, June 29, 2012

How to Earn the Title: Professor's Pet

Elated. That is how I felt when I was hired, as a sophomore, as a lab technician by my college. No longer did I have to sit by the pool and watch people frolic in the water, pretending that I would actually save them, should they drown. I was a woman of SCIENCE!

I started preparing supplies the upcoming lab class, one that I was taking myself.

I was so happy. "People will look up to me." I thought. Boy was I wrong.

I wondered what we would be doing with the supplies I had so carefully crafted and collected. The innocuous supply order was for:  "Forty slip capped tubes with cotton tip applicators moistened with sterile saline solution." Which looked approximately like this:

I thought "Awesome! We're probably swabbing things for bacteria! Cool! We'll see how much bacteria really is on my phone..."

In case you're wondering, you're phone looks something like this:

SIDE NOTE: I did some thinking and ever since I've been sterilizing my phone with 70% solution of ethanol on a paper towel. Ethanol works really well, evaporates quickly and gets rid of all those unsightly smudge marks *IMPORTANT* Do not use alcohol intended for consumption. That will just make your phone sticky.

I sit patiently in the lab waiting for my classmates, proud of what I accomplished. As students filed in, I successfully contained my superiority. "I'm so much awesome-r than you guys"

The Professor came in and started describing our lab project to us.  The project would take up the entire semester and she made it clear that if we didn't finish the project, we would fail.

We'd be working with cultures of our own specific E. coli and later we would be collecting activated sludge from the sewage treatment plant containing so many phages (viruses that attack bacteria) that ONE of them would target our specific E. coli strain.

The realization that we would have to visit a sewage treatment plant later in the year distracted many students from the task at hand. That task was harvesting our own E. coli.

I was the first to realize what the cotton tipped applicators were for: our butts. My head hung in shame as I averted my eyes from the front of the room.

Apparently, it wasn't clear to anyone else in the lab, maybe because they hadn't been tasked to prepare forty slip capped tubes with swabs.

A brave, outspoken soul raised his hand and asked "Let me get this straight. You want us to stick this..."

The professor, embarrassed by the thought of actually having to carry on this conversation, cut him off with a curt: "Yes. You can take turns visiting the restroom".  

Begrudgingly, we all took turn visiting the restroom and sodomizing ourselves with the glorified extended Q-tips (TM). Every person came back with their test tube filled with shame tightly clasped in their hands and quickly got on with the rest of the lab assignment. We were all eerily silent

When it came time for me, I marched myself to the toilet and thanked the heavens that I had been eating a lot of fiber lately, resulting in solid poos that didn't linger in my butthole. I didn't want to be one those people whose cotton applicator had poo smudges.

I inserted that applicator as deep into my butthole as I felt necessary before replacing it in the tube. For just a moment, I was so grateful it was over and that my cotton looked clean.

And in that moment, I wondered would would clean these poop Q-tips up. It was me. It was always going to be me.

When the lab was over I stared down that test tube rack filled with dirty test tubes containing even dirtier cotton applicators.

So I autoclaved (steam sterilized) those puppies on the longest cycle I could stand to wait for. Disposed of the applicators and soaked the test tubes in a soap overnight. But in my mind those test tubes will never be clean again.

At least I wasn't one of the poor souls who didn't successfully isolate their E.coli the first time and had to commit a second act of inanimate-object-self-sodomy in the name of science (a.k.a. passing a class).

MORAL OF THIS STORY: Do not EVER take test tubes or any other kinds of laboratory glassware from any lab for the purpose of consuming beverages from them. Sure, test tube shots are fun but just buy the premade plastic ones from the store. At least you know they never contained poo.

Below is a step by step guide detailing the process of becoming your biology teachers' favorite:

Step 1: Earn enough trust to be hired as the lab technician that prepares all of the labs for students.

Step 2: Take the class you are preparing the lab for.

Step 3: Do not look alarmed when professor implies you must extract E. coli from your asshole. Or fail the lab.

Step 4: Do not be the person to ask: "So... you want us to stick this in our butt?"

Step 5: Stick that cotton tipped applicator up your rear end. Try not to let the humiliation show.

Step 6: Proceed as usual.

Step 7: Do not show fear when confronted with a test tube rack full of ass Q-tips (TM).

Step 8: Autoclave and dispose of those suckers!

NOTE: It is important that you do NOT complain. I repeat do not complain.