We've all heard the stories (some of which are urban legends) about how children and pets will happily lap up puddles of antifreeze because it is brightly colored and sweet. this is a bad thing, as the propylene glycol or ethylene glycol (the active ingredient in antifreeze) throws your metabolism out of whack and increase the amount of acid in your body. kidney failure, seizures, heart problems and birth defects are some of the side effects of ingesting these chemicals (altho it takes a much greater dose of propylene glycol to do bad things to you than it does of ethylene glycol).

i can't argue about it being brightly colored. that shit is fluorescent - it's brighter than tang, slush puppies and pop ice combined. it's easy to spot - nothing else has that same synthetic brightness as antifreeze.

however, antifreeze is not sweet!

i was changing the radiator hoses on my volvo. unless you're unusually talented, you drain all the antifreeze in the process and have to refill the cooling system. this is good preventative maintence (as is changing your radiator hoses on a regular basis). long story -> short, i had to siphon out some of the coolant (i had overfilled the coolant tank on a test drive). the only hose available was a piece of garden hose, which is quite opaque. as you might guess, i got a big mouthful of antifreeze in the process (which i quickly spat out, after my brain registered that i had a toxic chemical in my mouth).

then it hit me - it wasn't sweet! it didn't have much taste at all, actually. it had a nondescript chemical taste, but it certainly wasn't sweet.

fyi, it was volvo antifreeze, which is a lovely shade of blue. i haven't tried prestone or zerex yet. they're both green, i believe.

It's true, antifreeze is not sweet. When I was a mere shorty back in New Jersey, I was playing in my uncle's garage and found a small phial of antifreeze. It looked to me like a straw filled with water so, being a young, curious (dumb) kid, I popped off the rubber cap and sucked in a swig of it.

The fact that it was not sweet was immediately apparent to me. I threw it down because the strong chemical taste took me a little off guard. It also made me realize that what I had just imbibed might not be good for me.

The incredibly bitter taste was what made me shyly enter my aunt and uncle's house and interupt them entertaining guests by holding up the empty straw-like thing and saying, "I just drank this. Is that bad?"

Needless to say, I was rushed to the hospital, had my stomach pumped and was made to puke gallons and gallons to ensure that the toxic substance had completely left my body.

If antifreeze was, in fact, sweet, I might have died that day.

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