Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hands-on Killer Cane Chemistry



No classroom like the real world, and the Killer Cane was the fourth grade teacher everyone wanted. It was a basically a plastic tube with a spray pump nozzle on one end and a cap on the other, you filled it with some weed killer, stealthily approached the dandelion, placed the tip of the nozzle on the victim, and pressed down on the tube. It would send a jet of weed killer on to the dandelion and on the dandelion only. I suspect that was in the day when you bought the weed killer it killed everything (even hundreds of years after you sprayed it on the ground, if you got the good stuff) and let God sort out the roses from the thistles - this was the way the Killer Cane Company tried to localize the mayhem. It even came with these little alka-seltzer like weed killer tablets. Cool! Maybe too cool as it didn't take long to burn through the pills, it was a hoot just watching them fizz when you poured the water into the cane. I thought that poison was a bit week though; needed a little punching up…

Forget about under the kitchen sink being the repository for toxic house hold products, the garage was like the Promised Land. To this day I am not sure what half the crap was, but as long it fit in the killer cane or was soluble in some sort of liquid it was ok by me. I soon turned the innocent garden tool to evil. Well, one man’s evil is another’s forced natural selection of backyard biota.

Using things I found around the house I tried experiments to see which mix had the quickest (and deadliest) affect on the local ant colonies and some of my mother’s plants to boot. I spared the peonies though because my brother and I discovered you could lay a Carl Spackler on the buds – they looked just like green golf balls and sometimes (bonus) they had a bee on them. You could drive one of those mean greenies a country mile with a golf club. Anyway, I digress. I did discover some rather virulent concoctions; however my scientific methods left something to be desired so I could rarely duplicate the mixture. Hey, I was just a kid, give me a break - I may not have kept any records but I am almost willing to bet there are still spots in the yard where nothing will grow again – ever!

Might want to go check up on your boys now and see what the hell they are doing in the garage again. Or maybe it’s better if you don’t know…

4 Comments:

At 9:45 PM, Blogger KyuBall said...

My mom, as part of her grandmotherly duties, almost bought my 8 year old a chemistry set for Christmas...almost because she couldn't find one.

I recited back to her the litany of chemical offenses I commited as a young boy...concluding with the "are you trying to burn my house down woman?!?"

She just laughed maniacally.

 
At 11:10 AM, Blogger Sarah Letnes said...

The EPA finds the source of toxic chemicals seeping into the water table of Littleburb USA. News at 11.

 
At 11:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cool design! Useful information. Go on! » »

 
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