Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Beer Cooler

There is a 4 degree C refrigerator at work. Well, there are actually several here, but one in particular that we call "The Beer Cooler." When I first started working here 2 years ago and was learning my way around, it confused me when people would say, "Amanda, can you get _____ out of The Beer Cooler?" "Huh? The Beer Cooler? What's that?" And then they would explain to me that it is the "other" name for the 4 degree in the hallway separating our two labs. It took me several months to learn why we call it "The Beer Cooler." Obviously, it has something to do with beer. Turns out that back in either 1995 or 2000 (the reports differ) one of the doctors in another lab lost a lot of bets to my boss. He owed him a lot of beer. So, he brought it in one day (somewhere between 3-5 cases), and they hid it in this refrigerator. Over time it disappeared. I guess they would sneak a little bit of it out at a time. No big deal, other than the fact that they could have gotten in a lot of trouble for having beer on the medical center campus. So the name stuck. Now, to all who have come through this lab, they are taught that the name of that refrigerator is "The Beer Cooler."

Our lab is moving soon. We've been lucky enough to score a place in MRB IV when it opens up in late August. Until our summer high school student starts work in a couple of weeks, I have the job of sort of going through stuff as time allows and throwing old things away. Today, I cleaned out the bottom shelf of The Beer Cooler. In the veeeeery back, hidden underneath some old kits for various scientific procedures dating back to 1994 (holy cow, I know. Someone should have done this a LONG time ago) there it was. An indiscript cardboard box with a biohazard bag sticking out of it. Kinda scared me at first. I was wondering what kind of biohazard I was about to get in to. Biohazards are bad enough, but add 11 years to the equation and you've got yourself a problem. So, I pulled it out and braced myself as I opened it up. Underneath the bright orange biohazard bag was one can and about 6 bottles of various brands of beer. It made me laugh. I asked U, our lab manager, what it was doing in there and she chuckled. She said she remembered it because they had to make it look like lab equipment or supplies, otherwise, if the Radiation Safety people saw it, they could get in BIG trouble. She said that no one would argue with a cardboard box and a biohazard bag. Who's gonna think it's got beer in it?

We've got some grad students in our lab who would love to take some free beer home, but neither of them would touch this stuff. It was gross. Hiding bottles of beer in the dark for anywhere between 5 and 10 years (I'm guessing it was closer to 10) doesn't do much for the brew. The inside of the bottles were molded. The liquid was thick (and these weren't dark beers). Even when I opened them up to poor them out, the carbonation was gone. Not to mention that it smelled funny. This happened earlier today, but I'm still running water in the sink that I poured it down to try to remove the stinch from our lab. Now tonight, I have to sneak the box with the empty bottles out of the medical center and into a trash can or dumpster somewhere, hopefully before I get to my car. I wouldn't want the smell to follow me home.


At 4:24 PM, Blogger DigiGirl said...

Clearly I never worked in that lab, otherwise the beer would never have met such a terrible fate!

At 4:39 AM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

Based on the state of the beer, it was properly labeled after all. Definitely a bio-hazard. And alcohol abuse to boot.


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