It pained me this morning to have to correct one of my loyal readers who seemed to mistake a star for a gas giant. Shame on you – whoever you are! By one of life’s many co-incidences, said loyal reader may well have benefited from the conversation which I overheard today.
Whilst walking to my car I found myself walking behind someone wearing one of the most stupid hats I have ever seen. This person was talking with his two mates on the subject of astronomy. So fascinating was their discourse, I followed them past my car and half way up the road to the shops. One of the lads (the one with the stupid hat) was explaining the difference between a galaxy and the solar system. It would seem that the solar system is the sun and two planets and probably the moon, and the galaxy is everything else. Furthermore, stars are comets: after all, we’ve all heard the expression “shooting stars”, haven’t we? When one of his acolytes asked what he Moon actually was, the prat in the hat replied “Well, it’s like, the Moon, innit? Know what I mean?” And to my amazement, this idiot’s hangers on nodded sagely at such wisdom. He went on to add that the Moon is a long way away – that’s why it’s in the sky, and the stars are what makes the light years (!)
And so to work where we had a cohort of students being shown around. We played our usual game of running a sweepstake on how many would be wearing stupidly ridiculous hats. Only one this time – very thin pickings. Mind you, the one with the stupid hat wound me up. He made no secret of his boredom, and spent his time standing at the back texting mates on his mobile. Why come on the outing if you aren’t interested?
And then one of the students fainted. There is always one that faints: it always amazes me. Now it’s no secret that many people wouldn’t be comfortable with what I do for a living. I muck about with (read “scientifically investigate”) people’s blood.
To a lot of people I imagine this might seem gruesome. To me, having been doing it for more years than I care to remember, it’s no big deal. And for anyone taking the degree course which is a pre-requisite for a job in pathology, dealing with blood shouldn’t be a big deal either. So why is it that every year we have at least one who keels over at the sight of a bottle of the red stuff?