Playing with Quicksilver
Paul Craig Roberts has an article over at LewRockwell that sent my thoughts racing back to my childhood. In one scene that has replayed many a time, I remember my friends from across the street giving me a small sample of quicksilver left over from a broken thermometer. The method of transportation, my bare hand.
As a seven or eight year old, mercury was amazing stuff. I distinctly remember rolling it along my bedroom floor, watching beads split into smaller beads with each push of my hand. I also remember my mother's anger (the reason for the vivid memory, no doubt) when she found out. And I remember my subsequent clean up.
A dampened dust rag and some clumsy effort wiped most of the bigger beads from the floor. But the smaller beads and vapors only left with time.
In the Thursday edition of my local paper, there is a story about a small mercury spill in a thrift store that ended up closing the store for three weeks, costing $300,000 in cleanup and disposal costs.
The kicker: The article notes that anyone who bought clothes from the story is now safe since any mercury vapor in the clothes has long ago dissipated into the air. So, what was the point of the $300,000 loss?
Today, should I find one of my children excitedly playing with a small bead of quicksilver, I'm ruined -- that's if I admit to it, of course.
History is not always a line on the chart, upward and to the right.