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Dumbass Coworker: What's A Little Radiation Between Coworkers?


Freddy frustrationFrom klenow, AskReddit

Several years ago I worked as a research technician. The workbenches were set up like:

(me) (my bench)


(clumsy asshole's bench) (Clumsy Asshole)

So CA is working on a procedure in which he is basically washing a radioactive isotope off a piece of nylon (Southern blot wash).

He has a shield set up between him and the work, and another set up behind that, but it's just a wall barrier; it's not a self contained box. He has a geiger counter to scan the blot to see when it's clean, and I can hear it picking up background radiation... tick---tick---ticktick--tick---tick

I'm minding my own business, working away at my bench. Then, simultaneously, three things happen:

1) CA says "oops"
2) Geiger counter says "tick---tick---tictktktktktscccreeeeeeeeee"
3) a thick, soapy liquid comes rushing under the shelves, across my bench, over the edge, soaks the shins of my pants and gets in my shoes.

It was only 32P, so it wasn't a big deal, but still fuck, dude. It's on my clothes!

I had to leave my pants, socks, and shoes at the lab to cool off for a few weeks, and I had to go home barefoot (his feet were 3 sizes smaller than mine, or he would have gone home barefoot). Fortunately, I had my gym clothes there so I had some shorts at least.

(apologies for the crappy diagram)


(Editor's Note: 32P is basically Phosphorus-32; to give an example, they use this stuff in nuclear medicine to find malignant tumors in the body, because cancerous cells have a tendency to accumulate more phosphate than normal cells. Very low level radiation, and unlikely to harm OP, thankfully.)



Kai Lowell

Eeeeeeesh! I bet THAT was nervewracking.

(And now I want to read up on nuclear medicine for the umpteenth time. It's interesting stuff.)


You'd think working with radioactive isotopes and dealing with radiation would be a job with an EXTREMELY low tolerance for clumsiness and mistakes. I say that knowing full well that my klutzy ass would not want to be doing it


According to extensive research (comic books) accidents with radiation is how you get superpowers! Why WOULDN'T you want to work with Butter-Finger-Man?

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