Even if you only possess a modicum of grey matter between your ears, you can reasonably conclude that “the chemistry of woodworking flamingos” isn’t a phrase you see every day. However, I see evidence of all three (chemistry, woodworking and flamingos) every single day. So does that make me unique? Nope, my DNA does a pretty good job of that, but not my unusual tagline.
I’m a professional chemist and have been for just over two decades. I got my B.S. in Chemistry right about the time grunge came out of Seattle and my Ph.D. when Denver was winning the first of its back-to-back Super Bowl titles. While that doesn’t make me old, it puts me uncomfortably close. I have been a chemistry professor for a lot of that time–teaching students from first year incoming freshmen to postdocs working with me as the PI. It’s been a marvelous ride. Plenty of what will come after this initial post will undoubtedly come from this vast wealth of knowledge/stories accumulated over the years.
I’ve also been a woodworker for about the same amount of time. I was hooked on woodworking as a child and I never really outgrew this affliction. I started out as an acolyte of Norm Abram, figuring the only things that could be built out of wood required power tools. I foolishly picked a fight with my table saw with a predictable outcome–I lost. I now have the use of 9 1/2 fingers; I managed to lop off much of the middle finger of my left hand without significant damage to the ring or forefingers–don’t ask me how I was able to accomplish this. Suffice it to say that I still HAVE the finger; however, I cannot bend it. So I guess I’m constantly making an obscene gesture.
Flamingos are relatively new to me. I’m not truly a fan of the bird itself; I’ve only seen one in person once. However, what started off as a prank by one of my students morphed into what I can only describe as a slow descent into a pinkish hell. Long before the term ‘viral’ was used to describe internet sensations, this prank literally went viral with my other students. Each and any prank that subsequently took place somehow had a flamingo attached to it or at the very worst, something pink. I now have several hundred flamingo items, even more pink things. I still don’t really like flamingos or the color pink, but if you tried to take these items away from me, we would end up in a skirmish.