Since I can actually behave like a sober adult sometimes, I recently took a freelance job writing a textbook about the periodic table. I studied one hundred elements in great detail, including where they were discovered, how they were discovered, who discovered them, and who died in the process of discovery due to the then-unknown properties of radioactivity (spoiler alert: it was Marie Curie). Unfortunately, in the now-quite-likely-event that the government will hack into my computer to see if I’m a terrorist or not, I’m probably goin’ down for all of the Wikipedia searches on plutonium and hydrogen bombs.
About two-thirds of the way through the project, my husband started to act really weird and distant. I really didn’t put the two things together because, other than the obvious handful of people, who would get weirded out by the periodic table? Only, he did. And I couldn’t figure out why since (duh) it couldn’t have anything to do with the freakin’ periodic table.
When we finally had a nice heart-to-heart conversation about it (I don’t remember it that well, it took lots of alcohol to endure a conversation about how the periodic table was messing up my marriage), he admitted that he thought something fishy was going on when he saw that there was a file in the middle of my laptop screen called “Periodic Table.”
I will spare you the lengthy conversation, but the highlights reel looked a lot like this:
HIM: So, there’s this thing on your computer that says Periodic Table.
HIM: When were you gonna tell me about it?
ME: Never (sip).
HIM: You didn’t think that was something I needed to know about?
ME: Well, of course I thought you needed to know about it, but I assumed your seventh grade science teacher would have covered it. That makes it no longer my responsibility.
HIM: We didn’t talk about stuff like that in my school. I went to a very godly school.
ME: (sip) So if you didn’t talk about the Periodic Table in science class, what exactly did you cover in the class? (sip)
HIM: Well, we covered stuff like that in school, but they had to send home a note and then your parents had to agree to let you take the class.
ME: (siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip) Honey…
ME: (sip) Do you know what the Periodic Table is?
HIM: Of course! I’m not an idiot!
ME: Let’s just pretend for a second that I don’t know what it is. Can you tell me about it?
HIM: It’s where you keep track of when you have your period, duh.
ME: Oh god (sip).
HIM: And the only reason you’d be keeping track of it on your computer is if you were trying to get pregnant!
ME: (siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip) See this glass right here? I can’t make it through most of the scientific explanations I have with you without one of these, and I can’t do that if I’m pregnant. Of course, if I somehow got pregnant at my age and had to start all over with diapers and breastfeeding and car seats, I wouldn’t be speaking to you anyway.
After a detailed discussion of what exactly I was doing with my very own periodic table (diagrams were involved), my husband breathed a wonderful sigh of relief and happily went back to playing with his toys. I drafted a quick letter to his alma mater’s school board for their epic science class fail.