A modern hand scraper and wire brush can strip peeling, mildewy paint from a concrete basement wall almost easily — at least, much easier than when I was a kid and had to do the same job with a pointed stick and piece of chalk. The equipment comes with warnings in big black letters. “Wear Goggles!” “Wear Gloves!” “May Sever Fingers!” And so on. You don’t want to get a flying paint chip in your eye.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a warning that says “Keep Mouth Shut.”
Describing the taste of a hundred-year-old mildewed paint chip as “Lovecraftian” would leave me without adequate vocabulary to describe the texture.
The moral is: when you need to shut up and do the job, don’t forget the “shut up” part.