Although everyone simply adores all of us at the Weekly, you do get the notion while opening a package addressed only to "the newsroom" that there could be anthrax inside.
This fear seemed realized when I looked inside the envelope I'd just slit open to find a little tube with yellowish crystals inside. But it turned out to be a home alcohol breath test that I just had to try out for you, the home viewer.
1:30 p.m.: I went over to the table in front of the Mexican-in-Chief's office and grabbed two previously opened bottles of booze, because we are under strict orders to only sample those that have not yet been opened. My choices: Bacardi 151 and Karma Tequilia (100% agave). I've had a soft spot for 151 since the first time a buddy in college dipped the stump he had left for a thumb in a shot glass, lit it on fire and put the burning stump next to his maniacal grin.
1: 32 p.m.: Sadly, there was only a half shot of 151 left but enough for a full shot of the tequilia. The instructions supplied by Imperial Beach-based Mission Breath Test distributor Derek Morton indicated I was to wait 15 minutes after boozing or drink a glass of water. I downed one of the free 16-ounce samples of Skinny Water (Acai Grape Blueberry Hi-Energy) in the office, which actually took about 15 minutes to do anyway.
1:47 p.m.: As instructed, I squeezed the middle of the Breath Alcohol Detector tube to break the inner glass capsule, which released the crystals.
1:47:32: I took a deep breath and, despite my seasonal bronchitis, managed to blow a complete 12 seconds into the tube without coughing up a lung (surprising myself). As instructed, I shook the tube gently to evenly distribute the crystals and waited two minutes for the results, which follow on the next page ...
In his pitch letter, Morton writes there were 34,000 motor vehicle crashes in Orange County in 2010, but 90 percent of the drivers were not tested for alcohol. He noted less than 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the legal limit in California, but the National Transportation Safety Board recommended in May lowering that to 0.05.
Morton claims the Mission Breath Test is FDA approved and he notes it costs less than $3 on eBay, making it a cheap, reliable way for one to determine one's BAC, which brings us to ...
1:51 P.M.: The crystals in my tube were about half clear-colored and half the yellowish that they were when I first picked it up. Or the crystals could have been light greenish; sorry, I'm colorblind. By matching the chart on the side of the tube, I could see I was at or very near 0.05.
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I then read farther down in the instructions that someone who has not been drinking should help conduct the test and a warning that this is a screening tool that cannot detect the exact amount of alcohol in your blood. So maybe I didn't blow 0.05? It also had me wondering if my morning Listerine figured into the results.
By the way, I'm going to make that call that I was definitely impaired because immediately after the test I wrote this blog post: Streaming Media West Conference Has a Motto Thanks to the Opening Keynoter: "Adapt or Die," which originally had it "Adapt of Die." I hereby blame any typos in my posts on the Mad Men spread outside the Mexican-in-Chief's office.
If you'd like to find out more about the Mission Breath Test, call 619.407.7837 or email LessThan.firstname.lastname@example.org.