Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Call Me Ish.... Gargamel

I've been doing some unpleasant work in the lab lately. Nothing too disgusting but I've been working on a lot of protein blots and yesterday I had to make a new protein buffer that contains one of my least favorite lab chemicals ever. It's not anything noxious smelling, radioactive or toxic but it does have quite the crazy color. This oh-so-favorite compound of mine is called Bromophenol Blue. And yes, it is very Bromophenol and very, VERY Blue. It comes in a powdered format and a little goes a long way. No, let me rephrase that - an extremely little, an iota even, goes a long, LONG way. The true joy of this chemical though lies not in it's ability to turn solutions shades of cornflower to indigo, or in the fact that it reacts strongly to proteins (any proteins... including those on human skin, yes, my dear blog readers, this is called foreshadowing). You see, the true joy of Bromophenol Blue lies in the fact that as a powder it camouflages perfectly to the color of a standard lab bench. Needless to say the stray grain of it inevitably winds up where it is least expected - usually on the hands of the unsuspecting lab tech who removed her gloves after what she thought was a thorough cleaning of the counters. And really, is there anything more complementary to a long hard day at work than leaving the office with palms and fingers the color of blueberries? I seriously looked like I'd been running around all day squashing Smurfs with my bare hands. If I had the black robe and malicious kitty I could've done a great Gargamel impression because certainly my annoyance at the incident brought out a long suppressed evil Smurf-killing countenance that I didn't even know I had in me. After a dozen washings (and Smurf curses muttered under my breath) my hands had only faded to a dark cerulean shade and two days later, two days of excessive hand-washing later, my skin was still resembling a speckled robin's egg. And truthfully, if that was the worst of it, I could cope. But as it turns out as I got to work today - on the verge of regaining my normal-for-me bleached chalk skin tone - Bromo-Blue Buffer was back on my to-do list. Regardless of caution - double gloves, paper towels, triple cleanings - I once again am the not-so-proud bearer of six out of ten blue fingers. I'll get you Papa Smurf if it's the last thing I do!

1 comment:

Greg said...

Too bad it wasn't green. You would have been all set for St. Patty's Day next month. =)