insulting the elements #1: hydrogen to neon

This morning I realized that no one (to the best of my knowledge) has ever taken the time to really insult the periodic table. Tom Lehrer put them into a song, but his treatment, while whimsical, was also respectful, and that is where Lehrer fell down on the job. The elements have been given a free ride far too long, and the time has come to call them on their bullshit.

I'm also posting abridged versions on my Twitter feed, if you find yourself unable to concentrate for more than 140characters at a time. Check back here often for an itemized comeuppance of those unique materials that make our lives so miserable.

  1. Hydrogen (H): Killed the dirigible industry. Not a fuel source but an energy carrier. Pathetically clingy around oxygen. Ban it.
  2. Helium (He): Helium is fine for balloons and amusing children, but children should not be amused. Children should live in silent, damp terror. Discourage anarchy and outlaw helium now.
  3. Lithium (Li): Seriously. Lithium, you are the least dense of all the metals, and don't think your reputation as a drug makes up for your pitiful mass per volume. Density is what makes metals cool, not their use as a mood stabilizer. I expected better from you, lithium.
  4. Beryllium (Be): Beryllium is called an ideal aerospace material. You know why? Nobody wants it on the planet. Nice knowing you, beryllium. Don’t let the ionosphere hit your ass on the way out.
  5. Boron (B): Oh you sad unloved semi-metallic lump of whatever. Where do you fit, boron? With a name like that? Stuffed in your locker every recess, I bet.
  6. Carbon (C): Carbon thinks it's all that. It gives us life and diamonds, sure, but it poisons the atmosphere. And carbon paper? Don’t make me lol. Verdict on carbon: not all that.
  7. Nitrogen (N): You can't take a breath without getting a lungful of 78% nitrogen. Like an in-law that doesn't know when to leave, nitrogen sits there on your couch and tells you how to raise your kids. I’m a grown-up now, nitrogen, and I don’t have to take that from you.
  8. Oxygen (O): As smug as platinum but without any justification, oxygen is absurdly proud of itself. We can always burn magnesium, you know. And we can breathe neon. Neon will do anything for attention.
  9. Fluorine (F): A pale yellow, corrosive, highly reactive gas that will burn your flesh and scour your lungs at the mere provocation of a breath. Fluorine doesn’t need a reason to be an asshole. This stuff is basically the neoconservative faction of the periodic table.
  10. Neon (N): Back when I travelled for work, neon signs kept me up countless nights with their blinking and flashing. Neon, when I get excited I don’t light up. That’s because I have dignity. You’ve heard of dignity, right? Thanks for ruining my life.