Will Edwinson

Author & Storyteller

“Quicksilver”(A Guest Post from Rube)

Rub’s 1941 Black Ford Pickup truck



Greetings, friends.  Well, old Rube is back with another of his insights.

Howdy, folks. It’s me, Old Rube, a talkin at ya agin.  I introduced  m’self awhile back when I told you bout old Gertrude, my 1941 Black Ford Pickup truck.  Will an’ me have been  friends fer a long while, and he has agreed to let me say my piece from time to time on his blog.  So it looks as how I’ll be a regular contributor ever oncet in a while.

Durin the 1940s, there was a popular song that  had  as part of its words, “You’re as hard to hold as Quicksilver when you kiss and run away.” Quicksilver is a nickname given to that element called mercury seein’ as how it’s kinda slick an hard to hold onto.

 Well, anyway, a while back I saw on a local TV news broadcast that some mercury had been spilled in one of the high schools here abouts(I live in Southeast Ideeho). Now accordin to this TV broadcast, If I heerd correctly, a HAZMAT team (whatever that is) was called in to clean up the mess, and the school might even have been evacuated on account of that spill.  I never noticed  anythin in the news bout that, so I don’t know fer sure

 Now I didn’t catch whether it was raw mercury, or mercury vapor, that was the source of the problem at this school, niether; and I don’t know how much of the stuff got spilled, but knowin the silliness in today’s world, I have a feelin it weren’t all that much.

I mentioned this broadcast to Will and he told me that this  recent incident put him in mind of a caper he was involved in when he was in high school durin’ the 1950s.  That was afore we had all them bureaucrats like the EPA, and afore mercury was listed as a hazardous material.

It was  a story about one of his high school shenanigans that I just gotta tell ya about, an all I can say is, my…how the times have changed. Will says he thinks it was durin’ his sophomore or junior year.  That means  more’n  sixty years have passed to allow any ill effects to have affected his person (he’s a comin on 79 years old and still in purty good health).

He says him an a bunch of his cronies came into possession of some mercury. He don’t exactly remember how this came about.  He thinks they might of raided the chemistry lab, or maybe they broke open some thermometers.  They liked to coat coins with the stuff, particularly quarters,  because it made em very shiny and very slipppery to the touch.

Will says he remembers he carried a couple of them mercury-coated quarters around in his pocket fer days.  He liked the looks of them shiny mercury-laden coins. They looked like brand new, he says, an he liked the feel of em, too.   He says they spilled some of that mercury stuff on the chemistry lab floor and counter top, an it formed little round balls that looked like bee-bees.

Now, they didn’t have the luxury of no expensive HAZMAT crew to come in and clean up their mess, so in order to cover up their misdeed, they grabbed a bunch of paper towels and dabbed the stuff up and threw it in the trash can, and that was the end of it.  He said the biggest fear they had was   gettin’ caught fer raidin  the chemistry lab and pilpherin’ some mercury.  That coulda cost em a trip to the principal’s office fer a stiff reprimand of some sort, and mebbe a phone call to their folks which would have brought a stiffer penalty from them fer their messin’ with school property without permission.

Like I mentioned earlier, my ol buddy Will is now in his late-seventies, and as fer as I know, he’s still in good health. Will says he ain’t aware of no ill effects from carryin them mercury coated quarters in his pocket for several days. He even  still has all his real teeth. Speakin of teeth, didn’t them  silver colored dental fillins that dentists used in the “old days” contain mercury?  I’m purty sure they did. Will says he has a bunch of them fillins in his mouth, too.

Whya my tellin ya’ll this?  Simply to say that sometimes I wonder if regulations go a bit overboard in the way some situations is handled.   What I don’t understand is, if mercury is such a dangerous compound, why did them idiots in gov’ment pass a law that  says  we can’t buy no more of them  incandescent light bulbs because they use up too much energy; and then they tell us we have to replace them regular incandescent light bulbs with them funny lookin curly cue bulbs  that are full of’ mercury vapor.  Don’t make no sense to me.  Oh…well, go figger.  That’s America today, I guess.  I think we’re a bunch o’ sillycrats, but I’ll have more ta say ‘bout that in a ‘nuther post.

 In the meantime, why don’t you click on the free download button on Will’s home page to get your free copy of his book, Buddy…His Trials and Treasures.  It contains many more adventures bout a young boy growin up in rural America during the 1940s.  I think y’all might even git to liken’ little Buddy.

See ya nex time.


Rube image by Lori Corbett – Third Raven Design lcorbett@cableone.net.

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