Scene: My cubicle. Afternoon. Various papers and files lying in piles, some neat, some not so neat. Computer. Two monitors. Keyboard. Mouse. An old color copy of the periodic table hangs from two clips stuck in the fabric walls.
Hey, May. So, you wanna order Girl Scout Cookies?
Without a moment’s hesitation and with a slight smirk, Yes, please.
You have a periodic table?
Yes, but I haven’t looked at it in a long time.
I look at the order form. They have new dulce de leche cookies.
What’s the symbol for …
Come on, it’s been since high school.
Cu, as I check off a box of Samoas
I roll my eyes. W. I want tagalongs, too.
Sn. I check off 1 box of the classic Thin Mints.
Okay, I’m done with my order. Three boxes.
I appreciate that he tried asking me the “hard” ones, where the letters of the symbols don’t exactly correspond to the English names of the elements.
The periodic table has nice, straight lines, a neat, orderly structure according to valance shells. Especially reactive elements on the sides, the inert gases on the far right side. Hi, noble gases!
The Girl Scout Cookie order form wasn’t too dissimilar. A lot of the same colors as the periodic table. Beautiful pictures of the cookies to the left with perfect descriptions beneath them. The ordering grid on the right: write your name on the blank , write the number of boxes you want under the cookie names, and try not to have that number greater than 1, or maybe two. I held it to one box each of three kinds of cookies. Restraint, people.
Mendeleev. He or his people probably created the Girl Scout Cookie order form. And I couldn’t help but order three boxes of cookies WHILE rattling off the correct symbols of elements from the periodic table. Brilliant, I tell you. Simply brilliant.