The grumpy old man from the preceding story (who fired me for stinking up his lab) had himself an accident in his younger years. Here is the story as told and re-told over the years:
The guy was making ethylthioester of acetic acid. While he was working up the reaction mixture and doing the extraction with ether he ineptly released the sep funnel stopcock and the over-pressure sputtered some of the mix on him with a good aim – all over his face and forehead.
So the guy immediately proceeded to wash himself with bleach and soap and alcohol but it hardly helped. A good thing he was wearing his old working clothes with acid-eaten holes, too (but it must have made him look more like a bum rather than a young faculty). The mishap occured later in the morning on a warm day in May. There is a public bath place with the Olympic-sized swimming pool and sauna located just two tram stops away from the campus – and our guy was a frequent visitor there and he got the brilliant idea that he should go there at once and have a dip to wash off that reek in a pool of chlorinated water.
As soon as he got on a tram all fellow passengers re-positioned themselves towards the opposite end of the tram. A little boy riding there with his mom said in a sorrowful voice: “Ma – I think this scarry man just pooped himself”. Few faces lit up. The mom answered, stern and loud – for the benefit of everyone on the tram :”No, Johny, this man did not poop himself. He just needs soap and water – lots of soap, and lots of water.”
Our guy promptly got off at the next stop; he finished the rest on foot. The cashier and the locker room lady gave him strange looks but otherwise the place was almost deserted – it was a business day and morning time. So our guy showered himself and then was swimming back and forth, many laps in that giant pool but the stink was still with him. “No use to swim in the cold water – but volatile organics azeotrop with steam”, he though. He headed to sauna.
It was still early in the day and he had the whole sauna to himself; he was sitting there relaxed and for the first time he felt like the stink was gradually weakening until he could smell it no more. Next, the door opened and another nude dude with a towel sat on a bench across the room. He was apparently some sort of hyperactive fellow – instead of leaning back the new guy kept looking left and right. He got up and looked under the bench, then he walked across the sauna room, looked under other benches too and inspected every corner. Finally he said, perplexed: “It beats me – the shit gotta be here somewhere!”