Yeah, you, Chemistry. You suck.
I like to think of myself as a science person: I like biology, I dig physics, I have a degree in Electrical Engineering, I enjoy sci fi stories, but I have this thing with chemistry.
I blame the clueless teacher who introduced me to the subject in high school. Blaming the teacher is cliche, I know, but I'm not sure where else to put the blame (I mean, it certainly can't be me, right?). The mental block carried on to college where I dropped out of what my friend called "the real Chemistry" that most engineering students took to enroll in the most remedial Chemistry I could get away with. Even then I barely made it.
And now in Water Hazard, one of the many problems Cal must deal with is Chemistry. I guess that goes along with the "write what you know" philosophy.
Instead of trying to make up a Chemistry textbook for his class, I went out and purchased a (very used) one. A secondary reason for buying the book was that a writing teacher once had us bring physical objects to class that inspired us or represented parts of our stories. I liked that exercise as it anchored at least one part of our stories in our realities. This story needed its anchor.
I have to say, it's pretty cool to have Cal's Chemistry text book in my hand, even though it hurts to touch it. It's evil. The perfect prop for the horrors ahead for Cal.