Where’s The ATM?

March 30, 2001

Credit card companies are now offering titanium cards. I don’t know why they decided on titanium, but having apparently run the gamut of precious metals (silver, gold, and platinum) they’re now moving on to other metals. It seems kind of goofy that credit cards would be named after various metals, considering that they’re all made from plastic (in fact, the reason for the impending fuel crisis is because plastic is made from petroleum, so with all those credit cards the average person carries about five gallons of gasoline in their wallet), but "The Titanium Card" does sound better than "The Plastic Card". Titanium is tough, useful in alloys, and has a really cool name. But eventually even titanium’s not going to be good enough, and new cards will be needed for customers with different needs. Here are a few suggestions:

The Aluminum Card: This card is ideal for people who only carry credit cards in case of an emergency. People who say "I use my card only for emergencies" fall into two categories: those who will stand in front of a hotel in pouring rain for twenty minutes debating whether not having a warm, dry place to sleep is really an emergency, and those who think a craving for french fries is an emergency. Why aluminum? Because it’s cheap and lightweight, which pretty much describes the two types of people.

The Bronze Card: Strictly speaking, bronze is an alloy. It’s a mixture of tin and copper. Bronze used to be grouped with the alloys called "brass", but some wiseacre salesman decided he could double the price of his brass candleholders if he told people they were made from "bronze", which sounds more respectable. The Bronze Card is for pre-adolescents. Since teenagers are now carrying credit cards, it won’t be long before children who have just started walking will have credit cards. (They already have cell phones.) The Bronze Card will have a credit limit of $25, and can only be used to buy candy, CDs that don’t have parental advisory stickers, and candleholders.

The Mercury Card: Remember in chemistry class when the teacher allowed you to hold some mercury in your hand, and it immediately slid onto the floor and scattered in about eight billion pieces? Well that’s what the Mercury Card will do. It won’t stay in your wallet but will go everywhere, and with its 80% interest rate, it will dissipate your finances. Prolonged exposure to this card also causes insanity, but don’t worry. You won’t have it long before you’ll be ready for…

The Plutonium Card: This card is for people who have declared bankruptcy at least three times. The Plutonium Card is carefully monitored, has to be carried in a special case, will poison everything else in your wallet, and, with a half-life of four and a half billion years, will never go away. Carriers wear this card around their neck for life.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


These comments come from test papers and essays submitted to science and health teachers by elementary, junior high, high school, and college students and compiled at the NEA Life Sciences Symposium, Kansas City, Kansas.

As the originator noted, "It is truly astonishing what weird science our young scholars can create under the pressures of time and grades."

Please note that the original spelling has been left intact.

  1. "The body consists of three parts – the branium, the borax, and the abominable cavity. The branium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abominable cavity contains the bowels, of which there are five – a, e, i, o, and u."

  2. "Nitrogen is not found in Ireland because it is not found in a free state."

  3. "H2O is hot water, and CO2 is cold water."

  4. "To collect fumes of sulphur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test tube."

  5. "When you smell an oderless gas, it is probably carbon monoxide."

  6. "Water is composed of two gins, Oxygin and Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin and water."

  7. "Three kinds of blood vessels are arteries, vanes and caterpillars."

  8. "Blood flows down one leg and up the other."

  9. "Respiration is composed of two acts, first inspiration, and then expectoration."

  10. "The moon is a planet just like the earth, only it is deader."

  11. "Artifical insemination is when the farmer does it to the cow instead of the bull."

  12. "Dew is formed on leaves when the sun shines down on them and makes them perspire."

  13. "A super saturated solution is one that holds more than it can hold."

  14. "Mushrooms always grow in damp places and so they look like umbrellas."

  15. "The pistol of a flower is its only protections agenst insects."

  16. "The skeleton is what is left after the insides have been taken out and the outsides have been taken off. The purpose of the skeleton is something to hitch meat to."

  17. "A permanent set of teeth consists of eight canines, eight cuspids, two molars, and eight cuspidors."

  18. "The tides are a fight between the Earth and moon. All water tends towards the moon, because there is no water in the moon, and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight."

  19. "A fossil is an extinct animal. The older it is, the more extinct it is."

  20. "Equator: A managerie lion running around the Earth through Africa."

  21. "Germinate: To become a naturalized German."

  22. "Liter: A nest of young puppies.

  23. "Magnet: Something you find crawling all over a dead cat."

  24. "Momentum: What you give a person when they are going away."

  25. "Planet: A body of Earth surrounded by sky."

  26. "Rhubarb: A kind of celery gone bloodshot.

  27. "Vacuum: A large, empty space where the pope lives."

  28. "Before giving a blood transfusion, find out if the blood is affirmative or negative."

  29. "To remove dust from the eye, pull the eye down over the nose."

  30. "For a nosebleed: Put the nose much lower then the body until the heart stops."

  31. "For dog bite: put the dog away for several days. If he has not recovered, then kill it."

  32. "For head cold: use an agonizer to spray the nose until it drops in your throat."

  33. "To keep milk from turning sour: Keep it in the cow.

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