One evening, in the middle of a Chem 1061 lecture, I clumsily applied a little too much weight to a deionized water faucet on the front bench of the classroom. What happened next can best be described by the email I sent to the Anoka-Ramsey science division faculty later that night:

A shower to wake up sleeping students perhaps?

Not to say that any of my students in my 1061 evening class tonight were actually sleeping, but it would be a good excuse for this story anyway. I had my hand on the deionized water faucet in S235 as I was talking to my students in the middle of a lecture. I shifted my weight and like nothing at all, the faucet snapped right off at the base, next to the countertop. This proceeded to shoot water nearly 3 feet above the countertop, and while I and my students in the front row managed to avoid the geyser, it got the floor decently wet. I shut off the valve underneath after actually realizing the odd thing that had happened, and it was an awkward pause for a few seconds before we all started laughing uncontrollably. No worries, maintenance mopped up the water in no time and the only damage done is the now non-existent de-I water faucet on the desk, which the maintenance man told me would be replaced in a few days.

I could then be assured that any students in the process of drifting off were sufficiently revitalized for the rest of the lecture! And it can also serve as a lesson in torque, I'm sure: just the tiniest force applied at the end of a lever can produce sufficient torque to snap one of these flimsy faucets off right at the base, so I hope everybody else uses more caution with where they put their hands when lectuing than I did!

In observance of this ordeal, I was awarded two honorable citations from the Anoka-Ramsey science faculty:

First, the "Oops I Broke the Deionized Water Faucet Award"

And the prestigious 2004 "Chemmy" Award for Best Classroom Comedy Performance, featuring the very faucet that was broken:

On behalf of all who have embarrassed themselves in front of a crowd by means of a clumsy and fantastic accident, I graciously and humbly accept these awards, and remind everybody that flimsy plastic faucets are certainly not load-bearing.

Andy Aspaas
October 21, 2004