Support Your Local Free Radicals!

Last night, Callaghan looked over my shoulder to see where I was in the June 2012 Allure magazine a friend sent to me from the States. Always interested in the latest skin-care science research, I was absorbed in a “Skin-Care Special” article titled “The Antioxidant Question,” by Patrick Rogers.

Callaghan read with me for a few minutes.

“A long time ago, I thought that ‘free radicals’ was a political party,” he reflected.

“A political party!” I was suddenly rolling on the bed laughing.

“And L’Oreal was always in a fight with them. There was the ‘formule anti-radicaux libre’.” (Anti-free radical formula.)”

We were still laughing when we returned to the article. One paragraph stated: “Green tea: Extracted from green tea leaves, this potent antioxidant fights free radicals and quells inflammation.”

“What is a ‘quells inflammation’?” asked Callaghan.

I lost it.

Now, in my defense, I didn’t spontaneously laugh at his English. I, of all people, know better than that. It was just that we were both already laughing about the free radical thing, so I never had a chance to catch my breath and recover before he asked about the “quells inflammation” – it was one funny thing immediately following another, like a multiple orgasm. Except that a multiple orgasm isn’t funny. Not necessarily. I guess it depends on how you look at it. Anyway.

We turned the page. “‘A free radical is like a loose hand grenade,’ Bank (the quoted scientist) explains.”

Cracking up all over again, we decided to stop reading and just find the phrases about free radicals:

“…compounds that can neutralize free radicals.” “Once unleashed in the body, free radicals roam around like stalkers…” “…free radical busters….”

By the time we were done with the article, I was wiping tears from my eyes, and I had to blow my nose. One thing is for sure: A political party called “Free Radicals” would be easy to defeat. All we would need would be a few tons of antioxidants.

SIKA BOOM-E Mousse Expansive

This morning, I was in the bathroom when Callaghan came in with a can of liquid Styrofoam, a product I never knew existed. The label on the can read: “SIKA BOOM-E Mousse Expansive.”

He started shaking it. He shook it vigorously for a long time using all of his upper-body strength, or so it seemed. “Let me guess… that needs to be shaken,” I said, observant as usual. He laughed. Why is he always laughing at me? This was the third time he’d laughed at me today. I can’t figure it out.

Anyway, then he began his task of spraying the Styrofoam along the wide crack that runs the length of the wall (where the tile floor meets the tile wall), and some vertically in the corner, too, where the walls meet perpendicularly. (There was an equally awesome crack that rose from the floor halfway up to the ceiling.) He explained that after about thirty minutes, the Styrofoam would expand and dry, filling the crack and blocking out the cold air that had been blasting in. I was fascinated.

“What happens if you accidentally swallow some – would the Styrofoam expand and kill you, or would your saliva and acids in your stomach prevent that from happening?”

“Uhh… ben…” (pronounced “bahhh”)

“…I mean, would it expand and blow up your stomach?”

“Yeah, you’d die. You don’t want to swallow it!”

Of course I wouldn’t swallow it. I already had this ghastly mental image of someone’s stomach exploding with a growing blob of Styrofoam, kind of like how a baby grows in the uterus, except that the uterus is specially designed to stretch with the growth of a baby, or, I guess, an expanding uterus-shaped blob of Styrofoam. Also, an expanded baby can exit the mom’s body by way of the vaginal canal, so the mom wouldn’t explode, anyway, whereas there’s no such escape route for a blob of Styrofoam lodged in the stomach.  You couldn’t even throw up the Styrofoam if you wanted to, for obvious reasons.

“Does the label warn against swallowing it?” I asked, very concerned. Callaghan examined the label. “No, it does not say ‘Do Not Eat’,” he answered.

Now it was my turn to laugh at him. I also laugh when he pronounces “focus” like “fuckus,” only he doesn’t say that word often enough for me to enjoy the hilarity of it.