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Enzyme says: Tell us your tales of grot, grime, dirt, detritus and mess

(, Thu 2 Feb 2012, 13:04)
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It takes a lot to put me off my food...
However, it can be done.

I used to work at a lab where part of the job involved injecting mice with radiactive goop, putting them to sleep, before chopping them up into lots of tiny pieces and then trying to find which bits the radiation had gone into. There was some vague intent to develop new reagents for those unfortunate to need a tumour scanned.

Anyway, because all of our waste (lots and lots of little pots of mouse-giblets) was rather excitingly radioactive, it had to be stored for a couple of weeks in an enormous lead-lined freezer before we could throw it away. The main freezer was (usually) brilliant, you could walk right inside, and it had a massive metal door that looked like it belonged in Bowzer Castle.

Predictably, however, this freezer decided to fail. In June. When the weather was warm. And the air conditioning also broken. This left about 3 thousand little pots of mouse innards sitting at a balmy room temperature. For over a week. Because of their radioactive nature, we couldn't throw them out, and although we had one little freezer still working, it wasn't enough for all of the samples. That was, unless we could make the big bags of waste smaller. It was at this point my boss realised that if we tipped the bits of mouse out of their little pots, and stored the pots separately, the pots could go out as merely 'contaminated', and we would have enough room to store all of the actual 'radioactive waste'.

So, there I am. My first job out of uni, and I am standing in a small room, for 4 hours, unscrewing little pots of week-old, briefly frozen, and then thawed mouse-parts, and tipping the part-liquefied, dribbly genatinous mess into one bag, whilst throwing the pots into another. For. Four. Hours. This was a level of horror I simply wasn't prepared for. Visually, you can just sort of de-focus, but then there was the smell. The smell almost felt solid after a while; a real, visceral, physical presence, forcing itself wetly up into my nostrils and straight into my brain. Most bad smells you can get used to, after a while, but there's something about rotting meat. Even through a properly fitted paper face-mask, this smell just stayed there, terribly, defiantly, arrogantly horrible. For. FOUR. HOURS.

After re-zoning roughly 2 thousand pots in the morning session (powering through my break to try and get it over and done with) I still had about half as much again to attempt. I went to the canteen, bought some food, and stared at it for 10 minutes. Now, I LIKE my food. I hesitate to call it love, but this is largely commitment-phobia. It takes an utterly monumental feat to get me to turn down good food. And yet, the whole lot was scraped into the bit, and I trudged back to the lab building.

As well as being a gourmand, I am also a colossal goodie-goodie, and I usually have a pathetic, sniveling level of deference to authority. This is why I found it so surprising when my boss asked me how well I had done in the morning, and whether I was going to complete the job in the afternoon, I found myself answering "Um... actually... no. Sorry..."

Her reply? "To be honest, I didn't think you'd manage even that many, it sounds like a horrible job."

Going home that evening, you know that bloke who sits on the train, with a thousand-yard-stare, smelling faintly of death? That was me, that day.
(, Fri 3 Feb 2012, 0:41, 2 replies)
At one of my old labs
we had a freezer full of dead rats fail in the middle of summer, and not get noticed for at least a week. I was on the next floor down, but the stench permeated the entire building. At least I wasn't the guy who had to spend all afternoon carting sacks of rancid rat to the incinerator, though.
(, Fri 3 Feb 2012, 9:50, closed)
Can't exactly say 'I like this'
But you're getting clickraped nonetheless.

Fuck, that sounded rough.
(, Fri 3 Feb 2012, 17:50, closed)

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