Thursday, June 7, 2007

I think it's the lead paint.

I had a brief conversation today in total darkness with a couple newly-acquainted summer students at Lyman Duff while developing a film. We discussed the overall quirkiness that the professors in our department share.

The biochemistry department at McIntyre is full of straight-and-narrow hardcore scientists, the sort you'd find on CBC soundbytes with embroidered lab coats and interestingly-coloured solutions in the background. In microbiology and immunology, however, they're all a bunch of kooks. Many are totally bonkers. But they're good kooks, the sort you laugh about nostalgically ten years after graduating, which I already foresee myself doing. I think I like having the crazy profs more; it gives the department character. Take, for example, these now-famous quotations, both from the same virology professor:

"Prions are elusive pathogens. It was once thought that they originated in some sort of primitive cow. Sounds a little like my ex-wife."

"The truth is, almost all influenza virions are harmless. You could probably snort a handful of bird shit like crack and not get sick [uproarious laughter from class]. Then again, knowing some of the dealers in Montreal, that's probably what you're getting [scattered, awkward laughter from class]. What, none of you has bought crack recently? [half-uproarious, half-awkward laughter from class] I find that hard to believe."

Other quirks involve a somewhat scary ability to kill tens of mice in a matter of minutes, the look of constantly having to pee, a ridiculously soft and sleep-inducing manner of speech, and a general lack of variety in fashion choice.

Anyway, a short list of nicknames for a few profs in the department, based mainly on their quirks, that have been suggested mainly by Aaron and me, but also others:

- Bebop Scatter (also known as Bebop Scat, and Bebop Scatdaddy)
- ppGpp
- Laser
- Bainesy (not really a quirk - it's his name)

UPDATE - We made a couple more:

- Silk
- C9

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