The first week in Chemistry class, you're required to memorise the electrochemical series. The teacher makes you memorise it, memorise until you've got everything down to boot. Where is Carbon? Above Zinc, below Aluminium. Where is Copper? Above Mercury, below Lead.
After that you're required to memorise the first twenty elements in the Periodic table. Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium so on and so forth. You have to memorise it, or so the teacher says. It's important for you to know.
Then you're again required to memorise the colours of metals. Gold is yellow, not gold, and the others are either brown or grey. Three colours only. Basic. Very basic.
So it should stand to reason that we'd remember this, especially now, what with our trials so near. Yet we could still make the same mistake.
Mrs. Foo was writing on the board in tuition today. She drew 3 test tubes, A, B, and C. Reading out the question as she wrote. Metal L displaced silver from silver nitrate solution in test tube A. Metal M displaced silver from AgNO3 in test tube B. Metal M could not displace L from L ion solution in test tube C. Write out the order of metals by increasing electropositivity.
So she wrote out the equation on the board.
L + AgNO3 ----> LNO3 + Ag
And started explaining at the same time.
'So if L displaces silver from AgNo3, it becomes LNO3, right?'
Furious nods throughout the room. Well, furious nods on my part, mostly. Everyone else was just so vanilla.
'And you get LNO3 and silver comes out.'
Now here's the real clincher.
'What colour is silver?'
Forgetting everything our Chemistry teacher drilled into our heads back in Form 4, Elaine, Montri and I said in unison. 'SILVER!'
Mrs. Foo looked at us, smiled and said, 'No, it's grey.'
Somehow, it was just plain hilarious.