Today is Robert Bunsen’s 200th Birthday.
He is the chemist who invented the bunsen burner which lead to the invention of the Bialetti stove-top coffee maker, so as far as LOML’s concerned he is the best inventor ever.
But that’s not why I noticed his birthday.
We all have a Mean Girls story from our school days. Mine happens to be a Mean Boys story, but we all know how these things play out. Group of kids makes life a misery for single kid for reasons known and unknown to themselves only.
I guess being nicknamed Bunsen and having a large group of boys call out ‘heeeeey BUUUNNNSEEEN’ every single time you walked past them isn’t the end of the world. I’ll take that any day of the week over so much of the teenage warfare a lot of kids endure.
Ground-opening humiliation for a teenager desperately wanting to fit in, even if the boys only came up to my armpit and, like all teenage boys, had absolutely nothing to offer. On and on and on it went. I went from laughing it off with a sweep of my offensive tresses, to attempting to ignore it, to only ever walking in the centre of a gang of girls, to going miles out of my way to avoid them altogether.
The burden of the peer group.
You know, once those boys stopped being a peer group, many turned out to be very nice indeed. I was oddly the only girl invited to every single one of those boys’ 21st birthday parties. I went along to a couple. To them it was ‘hey old mate!’ and I realised that as BUUUUNNNSSEEEEEN I was always a part of their gang; their quirky little mate who took teasing on the chin. They were boys and that’s just what boys do. Shudder.
The mystery of the peer group.
That’s what Robert Bunsen means to me. Happy birthday, clever man.
[Image by giac1061]