Of course, you might know Little Timmy as Little Jimmy or Little Johnny. But whatever…
Little Timmy took a drink,
But he will drink no more,
For what he thought was H2O,
If you aren’t into your chemistry, then let me explain that H2SO4 is the chemical formula for sulphuric acid. It might look like water, which is what Little Timmy (Jimmy/Johnny) thought he was drinking (that’s the H2O bit, but I’m assuming that you knew that already).
Don’t drink Sulphuric Acid. It will quite literally kill you, or at the very least, maim you horribly.
Thankfully, these sort of cases of mistaken identity don’t happen often – I mean, where was Little Timmy (Jimmy/Johnny) when the above incident took place? In a lab? If so, then he’d already broken all sorts of rules and regulations and probably deserved to die [bit harsh – Ed.].
You don’t eat or drink in a lab and you label everything – especially the nasties.
But maybe he was at home, but what was he doing with sulphuric acid in his house? I mean, you make a rod for your own back playing with those sort of chemicals in a domestic setting.
Or perhaps he was at a bar in London.
But surely no case of a basic household product being confused with a seriously corrosive chemical compound would ever happen in a bar in London, right?
“Apparent staff error”? I mean, we all make mistakes, but… just… how?!?
“Clubbers in London’s Tiger Tiger were mistakenly given caustic soda instead of salt when knocking back tequila slammers, sending four people to hospital with burns. A shot of tequila is made into a slammer by licking salt first and then sucking a lime or lemon after.”
I should point out that this is unconnected to the Tiger Tiger club in Cape Town.
Tiger Tiger in Cape Town has a great reputation.
OK, maybe not so much. But they never gave anyone Caustic Soda with their shooter.
To the best of my knowledge, at least.
Look, both salt (sodium chloride) and caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) begin with “sodium”, but that doesn’t mean that they’re interchangeable. I was going to come up with some examples of how chemicals that start the same aren’t always the same, but I think we’ve kind of covered that with the stories of Little Timmy (Jimmy/Johnny), and the tequila drinkers at Tiger Tiger. But if you’re looking for more, then water (H2O) and Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) are another two you don’t want to mix up. And are unlikely to find yourself in a situation where you can mix them up. Just like the other examples – you’d think.
I don’t really know what lessons can be learnt from this. Don’t drink acid? Don’t lick caustic soda off your hand? (Hell, don’t even put caustic soda on your hand.) Yes. They are good lessons. But the best one I can come up with is “Don’t visit any bar or club called Tiger Tiger.”
And if that saves just one life, it will all have been worth it.