Toxic Chemicals

One of the most unbelievably toxic chemicals found in the average household is the general-purpose cleaner Formula 409. Among the many virtues not listed on the packaging, it kills just about any household pest or insect, pretty much on contact. (In a fairly gruesome and painful-looking manner, at that, which only adds to the fun.) It’s not quite as strong a solvent as undiluted Pine-Sol floor cleaner, which strips paint and does remarkable things to metal, but it’s still not something you want to get in your eyes, or drink.

Something else you probably don’t want to get in your eyes – and definately don’t want to drink, assuming you have any taste whatsoever – is Steel Reserve “beer”, an unbelievably awful malt liquor whose only virtues, so to speak, are a ridiculously high alcohol content, and a really, really cheap price.

I try not to drink domestic beers (or domestic wine, for that matter), and I didn’t make an exception here. However, I wanted to kill some slugs in the garden, and didn’t want to sacrifice a good, expensive beer just to off a bunch of cephalopods, so the $1.29 24-ounce can of refrigerated urine seemed like a good bargain.

If you’re unfamiliar with this method of murdering slugs, a brief explanation is perhaps in order here. Essentially, slugs, like certain other animals, can be and often are a nuisance in gardens. Thankfully, slugs, like certain other animals, are drawn strongly towards beer, or at least a component of beer. So, what you do is, you pour some beer in a saucer or other flat, shallow container, set it in your garden, and the slugs come, and crawl into the beer. Being – like a lot of other animals strongly attracted to beer – not very bright, they generally manage to drown in the stuff. It sounds horrible, and it is, but it’s doubtless more pleasant than what ants go through when hit by household cleaner.

So, I bought the can of Steel Reserve, opened it, took a whiff, and decided the slugs were free to enjoy it on their own, without any help from me. The smell sort of reminded me of moldy, rotten pigeon poop, with a hint of cat urine. Anyway, I poured a bunch into a shallow saucer, and set it in the bushes. Not considering the malt liquor fit for human consumption – it really does look like urine, a comparison not helped by the smell – and not having a convenient way of resealing the can for further anti-slug warfare, I dumped out probably eighteen ounces of the stuff on the ground.

A couple days later, the container was half-full of dead slugs. A week or two later, the lilac bush nearest what I now consider the toxic-waste release (i.e. where I dumped the malt liquor out) lost most of its leaves and pretty much died.

And to think, people voluntarily drink this stuff?

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General | on July 19th, 2007| Comments Off on Toxic Chemicals

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