11/21/05

Heavy Metal Doesn't Always Rock

Okay, okay... eventually I'll do the series on big words. I've got some really great words coming, I swear; it's just that my understanding of some of the multi-syllabic concepts I was planning to cover is... how you say... not so good. So just give me a little time to bone up on Phylogeny and so forth, and we'll be all set.

The big-word thing, by the way, is not really going to be about big words at all - just so you know. I actually don't like big words very much, and feel they do more to obscure the meanings of things than to explain them, which is of course the opposite of what language is intended for.

So I'd like to succinctly sum up some notions that I think are worth understanding, but which have been buried, for most people, under piles of extraneous letters. And I will. I swear.

*****

For now, though, I'm worried about my friend James. James is a painter, and last night he decided to apply a coating of wax to his most recent piece, which he accomplished by boiling some beeswax in an empty peach-can on the stove. James then applied the melted wax to the painting and let it dry. Then he started feeling sick.

Not sick like you've just eaten a whole bottle of vitamins and chased it with cough syrup, but sick like your head aches and your stomach hurts and you just want to lie down and die.

Then he woke up this morning and he still feels awful. What are the chances, do you think, that poor James gave himself tin poisoning by inhaling the fumes from a can full of boiling wax?

And what, if he did poison himself, is James supposed to do about it? Wait for it to go away? See a doctor? Drink bleach?

We're not medical experts here in my office.

Do they even still make cans out of tin?

I hope that painting looks good.

7 comments:

MadFlyTom said...

Ahh yes, this sounds all to familiar. In middle school science class one year we were to make candles out of crayons and put them in tuna-fish tins.

About halfway through the crayon smelting process, I started feeling sick, stomach doing backflips and a horrible headache. 20 minutes later I was found in the nurses office, SICK. AS. A. DOG.

I thought it was the fumes from the melting crayons, but it could have been the fumes from the tuna can being heated by the bunson burner.

Hopefully James feels better soon, if not, perhaps he should go to the doctor and get it checked out!

Colin said...

Good to know.

You said smelting.

Anonymous said...

generally cans are a steel sandwich. the steel does most of the load carrying work - it is then dipped or veneered in either aluminum or tin (for rustrproofing)

tin is generally used as an alloy because it helps make other metals better. bronze is a good example of this.

anyhoo - what is making your buddy feel crappy is probably the tetanus he contracted when cutting his finger on the damn sharp, rusty lid.

Colin said...

Got that, folks? We've got metallurgists chiming in here! You don't find that on just any old site... that's an On Like Popcorn Exclusive.

Michele Melcher Illustration said...

Hmmmm.....reminds me of back in art school when a friend decided to use cadmium red in his airbrush. (your not supposed to spray cadmium cos it's pretty nasty stuff and if you look at the lables it always says "apply, do not spray")

He got really sick a few hours later with the same symptoms and was throwing up and stuff...pretty nasty. He went to the doctor...the doctor told him that he had "metal fume fever" (whatever that is!) and told him there wasn't anything he could do about it....it would just have to run it's course.

Hope your friend is okay!

Michele Melcher Illustration said...

Ps....I just looked it up and it's also known as "inhalation fever"

check it out
http://www.haz-map.com/inhalati.htm

James said...

The really unfortuante thing here is that the painting probably suffered the most from this whole ordeal. It just ended up looking like someone spilled a can of wax on it...which i guess i sorta did.