Lab Cabin Fever


Every so often, a lab citizen can be struck with what is commonly referred
to as cabin-fever.  This condition often leads to a display of bizarre
behavior by the afflicted individual, often riveting the attention of
lab-mates and bystanders alike - (most disconcerting to the PI, general
progress in the lab can be severely affected).  Of course, it is well known
that these temporary bouts of lunacy are exacerbated by many things such as
malfunctioning fume-hoods, looming committee meetings, sub-cloning, and
gloves that cut off the circulation to the rest of your body.  But the
origin of this dangerous yet entertaining behavior is almost invariably
linked to sensization to the lab environment, usually as a result of
excessive experimentation.  Although the laboratory strain of cabin-fever
is not necessarily contagious, exposure can be dangerous.  (Sadly, even
pipette tips are harzardous when they fall into the wrong hands.)  For this
reason, we at *Aliquotes* have endeavored to provide you with some warning
signs that may protend a possible breakdown.  According to our guidelines,
it is advisable to vacate the lab if you notice your labmate doing any of
the following:

	* Suddenly screams "Don't touch my tweezers!  I swear to (insert
	  PC-sanctioned deity here) I'll *kill* you if you even look at my tweezers
	  again!".

	* Spends the morning penciling in her name for all 365 days on the sign-up
	  calendar by the HPCL machine.

	* Starts extending the use of yellow post-it notes to delineate new
	  territory in the lab.

	* Is observed cradling a stir-bar while quietly muttering "They'll never
	  get you my dear, you're my special one, my one and only and they can
	  never take you away from me..."

	* Takes his coffee break underneath is desk.  (Same place he keeps his
	  tarot cards and palmistry book.)

	* Roots around the garbage sobbing, "No, No! Come back!"

	* Sits in front of the computer for days, endlessly changing the background
	  colour on his slides.

	* Looks up dirty words in the Swiss-protein data bank.

	* Requires sunglasses if the curtains are opened in the lab.

	* Starts an elbow fight with you because you are pipetting on her side of
	  the lab.

	* Autoclaves articles of your clothing when you don't strictly adhere to
	  the schedule on the sign-up sheet.

	* Scrawls the words "Lab Police" in magic marker on the back of his lab
	  coat and starts using the butt of his pipetteman as a tool for law
	  enforcement.






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