One hand clapping


What is the sound of one hand clapping? Of liquid turning into droplets and expanding through space with a sound something like “Kerfloof!”  Is there a name to that sound?  I’d be satisfied, I suppose, with the science behind the event.

I used to be a diet soda addict. Now I rarely drink one. Last night I opened up a can of Diet Cherry DP. (You’ll see why this is relevant soon.) I tend to drink everything at room temperature, so I just popped the top and was running around, moving laundry and stuff from the ground floor to the top floor. On the last trip I took a few hand-held items and the recently opened room temp DP.

I swear, I just grazed the dog gate with the can.

Visualize a cartoon explosion.

The can made a strange sound which defies description – sort of like a wheeze and cough – and flexed like a wild thing. A mist of droplets erupted, filling the air around me, shooting up the walls and staircase raining on the floor, attacking the walls behind me, splattering the front door, shooting across to the oxblood leather recliner. All in a heartbeat.

I just stood there as the mist settled around me.. dripping off my glasses. The dog raised his head and looked up at me as if to say, “Whatever happened, I am NOT responsible.”

This is a white on white house. Beads of Diet Cherry DP (which, by the way, are a lovely sort of translucent claret color) trickled down the walls and pooled on the light wood of the stair treads.

While I was washing walls, doors, floors, stair treads and almost anything else in the eruption area, I noticed the soda can’s little pop-top lid buckled outwards. Apparently that scrape had set the warm soda’s bubbles into geyser mode.  The remaining sip was flat as distilled water.

This, plus the color, put me in mind of a time when I was in my late teens and came home rather late one night. I noticed a bottle of strawberry wine made by a relative which was sitting on the counter. As I eyeballed it, it seemed to me to be “working” like I remembered home canned tomatoes could be “working” (spoiling, rotting, turning to poison with botulism) and I picked it up to get a better look at it. Was this what wine was supposed to look like?  It was a mystery to me.

Just as I was holding it up to my nose to get a really good look, the cork popped out in a rotten strawberry wine geyser.  Please note, my mother’s kitchen was bone white done in an eggshell finish.  I smacked my hand over the top of the bottle (but not before the wine shot up to the ceiling and over the entire kitchen) and it shot between my fingers like Old Faithful. While saying, “Shit! SHIT! SHIT!” I’m trying to get the bottle over the sink, while slipping and sliding in the strawberry wine all over the floor.

Once I was able to towel off enough that I would not leave a boozy trail through the house, I tiptoed to my mother’s bedside and whispered rather urgently, “Mom. Mom! We have a problem.”  She rolled over, inhaled the scent of horrific strawberry wine and groaned, “Oh, my God! You’re drunk!”  Not hardly, Mom, not hardly.

It took hours to clean the kitchen. My Dad ranted and raved that the bottle could have exploded in my hand and killed me. (Who knew?) In the end we had to repaint the kitchen, using sealer to keep the red wine stains from bleeding through.

However, Diet Cherry DP does not permanently stain walls!  And since there’s no sugar in it, there’s no sticky residue. And the bottom stairs are now squeaky clean.  As are the walls and the floor and the door and the …

So what is the sound of liquid gone mad?  Is it something more than the sound of one hand clapping?

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10 comments

    1. Hi Doc, thanks for stopping by. Oh, yeah, I remember using Coca-Cola to clean off car batteries. You know, I don’t remember seeing battery acid around terminals these days. I think they might have changed the design or something. Speaking of which, did you know that you can use Diet Coke to clean glass lenses?

  1. Doc, Regular Coke has sugar – ewwww, sticky mess. Diet Coke has no sugar and it has the cola syrup which cleans lenses nicely. I haven’t used it in years, but it used to be commonplace among my friends in Idaho. And there you have it – a blast from the past. Pepsi? I dunno. You drink Pepsi? Try out Diet Pepsi and let me know. 🙂

    1. My beverage of choice is wine. If it is, indeed, strong enough to clean battery acid off terminals I’d rather not know. And it does have residual sugar from the grapes so probably wouldn’t be good for cleaning lenses.

  2. I could talk for hours about the relative merits of wine over Coke. Or vodka and Coke. But in regards to battery terminals and corrosion, you now have the absolute sum total of my knowledge!

  3. A friend of mine just relayed a similar story involving a Cheerwine cola. (If you aren’t familiar with Cheerwine it is a weird type of cherry cola drink that to me tastes like Robitussin) In both of my friend’s “explosions” the cans of soda were at room temperature. I’m no chemist, but I’m seeing a theme with this cherry flavoring. I’m extra cautious now to only drink my Cherry Coke Zero when it’s nice and cold. I very much enjoyed your stories!!

    1. Hmmmm, you may have something there. Cherry flavoring. Thanks for stopping by and also for telling me about the flavoring of Cheerwine cola. If I ever see it I’ll know to avoid it since I’ve never liked the taste of Robitussin.

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