A couple of months ago, Dr. Hari officially changed the name of our research lab from the Materials Physics Laboratory to the Functional Materials Laboratory, as "functional materials" is the new term for "applied materials" and the buzzword for getting funding.
Well, as you may guess it was a very short leap to Dysfunctional Materials Lab which is fitting. Us grad students spend 9-10 hours a day in very close quarters. We travel together and go through very stressful times together. We are protective of each other and are unable to hide anything from each other. In short we are very much like a family, and like most families we consider ourselves to be slightly dysfunctional.
Take for instance yesterday, when one of my labmates-we'll call him Cheesehead to protect his privacy- came to the lab proudly showing off his new tackle box that he bought to hold his sample preparation tools. Since he makes samples in the next building over, I admit this was a good idea. It was the execution of the idea that created issues.
He spent the better part of an hour loading up his tackle box with things from around the lab. When he called me over to check it out, I took issue with his blatant monopolizing of two pairs of tweezers.
Me: Cool, Cheesehead. Are you going to leave those tweezers in there or are you going right now to make a sample?
Cheesehead: I thought I'd leave them in here so I don't forget them whenever I go over to NNRC.
MB: But that pair right there is my favorite pair of tweezers.
CH: Well, when you need them they're in the box on my desk. Help yourself.
MB: Why can't you just leave them in the community drawer with the others and take them when you need them?
CH: Why can't we leave them in my tackle box and you can take them when you need them?
Five minutes later-
MB: You know, Cheesehead, it's really giving me anxiety that you are planning on keeping my favorite tweezers in your tackle box. You lose everything.
CH: Really? It's driving you nuts? Good. Here. How about this?
He storms into the other room and opens the drawer full of the remaining tweezers, grabs a handful and puts them in his tackle box.
CH: And while I'm at it, I'm taking a ceramic boat too.
He never uses the ceramic boats. They're mostly for my stuff to sit in while they're being cooked at 900 degrees Celsius.
MB: Cheesehead, you jerk! Put that back! You don't even use that!
CH: I'm taking your diamond scribe too.
MB: Oh, no. You DIDN'T just take my diamond scribe. I swear to God, Cheesehead. I will beat your ass.
CH: Try it.
Well, Cheesehead is about 6'3" and 220 lbs so I new very well I couldn't actually beat his ass. I settled for feebly slapping his arm and stomping back to my desk. I also threw in a "I'm telling Dr. Hari you took my diamond scribe. "
This morning when I came into work the ceramic boat, the diamond scribe and most of the tweezers were back where they belong. My favorite pair however is still in the tackle box.