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Wednesday, August 7

volitional viands

True story: As a boy, I wanted to be a chemist. The yearning kicked in around five or so. Already by that age, I had a reputation for leaping before looking with my grand schemes and experiments. Curiosity ruled my noggin before I learned a little control and focus. But I jump ahead...
Around my seventh year, I participated in the annual Payne County Fair as usual by representing the family Randy Mill Farm showing our dairy cattle. As a country boy, the fair was a welcome break from the never-ending toil of the dairy farm. As part of the tradition—and because I had buckets of spare time due to caring for seven or a dozen cows—I carefully explored each of the fair's exhibit halls. Quilts made by locals. Prized garden produce. Local artwork in every medium. And bugs, carefully labeled and pinned to Styrofoam in little display cases.

That's where my ambition got the best of me. Bugs. I had won all sorts of other awards, but entomology! Such magnificent looking creatures, and I'm a bit of a collector of oddities anyway, so why not?!

The first step, create a "kill" jar. I'd taken out scorpion with alcohol-soaked cotton balls in glass jars. I wanted something even better, for reasons that still escape my memory. Again, living on a dairy, I had access to some reasonably potent chemicals that were used for cleaning equipment. So I decided to mix a couple of them: chlorine and acid, to be specific. High strength stuff, too, combined in a Braum's ice cream bucket with my face right over it. Breathing it in nicely.

Years later, I would discover I created something called chlorine gas. Its long history in war as a chemical weapon is a bit daunting.

After this experience, and the resulting days in the local ER in an oxygen tent, my parents quietly attempted to redirect my interests. Hence:


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