39. A Poisoned Apple
A story from my days as a grad student in chemistry – late 1984 or early 1985. Reporting revenge dispensed by another. First-year chemistry grad students shared a large, multi-desk office that included a refrigerator for storing food (no chemicals).
One morning one of the other students discovered that overnight an apple he was keeping in the refrigerator had been stolen.
After asking around to determine that none of us had taken it, he devised revenge – he left a note in the refrigerator saying (as best I remember all these years later), “The apple you stole yesterday had MALIC ACID in it! You mess with a chemist at your own peril.”
The next day a night janitor reported to the health center, stating that he had been poisoned. But no punishment was meted out to the grad student “poisoner” – malic acid is the naturally-occurring chemical that makes apples taste tart, and the apple had not been adulterated. You mess with a chemist at your own peril.