Friday, February 02, 2007

Good People, K-Y Jokes Fill Lab

This world contains a lot of great people. If you read the news a lot, cynicism might color your perception. But great people dominate.

In my lab, we measure psychophysiological responses to media. One of the responses we measure is skin conductance. This indexes activity in the sympathetic nervous system, as this activates the eccrine sweat glands in the palms.

Since salt affects conductivity, we need a saline free gel for those sensors. You can buy expensive electrode gel online, but you can also just use K-Y Jelly. When experiments are running, we use a lot, so we buy it in bulk.

And perhaps it is a sign of our sophomoric senses of humor, but buying K-Y Jelly in bulk is always funny. It is especially funny because we usually also buy medical tape (for holding down sensor wires) and paper towels in bulk. It's just an odd combination.

I've known the order was coming for many months, and Wednesday I finally provided my shopping list to the college's executive assistant. This is, perhaps, the nicest woman whom I have ever met, and I felt bad sending her out on the errand. But it's a government procurement card, and I cannot use it.

In a line for the ages, this poor woman was beginning to get a weird look from the cashier as she rang up 7 ... 8 ... 9 ... 10 ... 11 ... 12 tubes of K-Y. A final awkward glace from the cashier led our crack staffer to deadpan, "We're planning a big Super Bowl party."

Truly a line for the ages.

A couple of hours later we're sitting in lab meeting recounting this story with great hysterics, and I look at the people there, and I see a great group of people.

I didn't say anything at the time, but I felt damned lucky. I bolted halfway across the country for this job at Texas Tech, and here I have an amazing lab 6 months later. My doctoral student is as good as any I have met, three master's students are working in the lab, and I have a great undergraduate working in the lab (and another one studying abroad in Italy this semester).

I have no idea how I managed to find 6 great people in just 6 months, but man are we having fun in the lab. The K-Y tale led to many bad jokes, and I think everyone was smiling most of the time.

Our first psychophysiology experiment participant should run in about two weeks. You might here the champagne pop all the way from Lubbock.

Labels: , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right. It's a miracle you ever found 6 great people willing to hang out with you.

Hope to see you in Vermont in April. I'll buy you a beer... or some K-Y jelly. Whatever.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Samuel D. Bradley said...

It's the equipment, really. It draws all the stares. I'm just the guy who plugs it in.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you received any douche in the mail or in the form of a present latley?

2:25 PM  
Blogger Samuel D. Bradley said...

My gag gifts have evolved in class as I left my teen years in the rearview mirror.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:47 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home