Yep, I had to chuckle when they had all the hoop-la on the news a while back about the dangers of mercury. I don't remember which high school class it was, but I'm pretty sure each of us got a little dab of mercury to play with. And yes, I remember rolling it back and forth, hand to hand. Of course nobody warned us about mercury having a molecular attraction to gold! I was playing with a dab of the stuff when it touched my class ring and whoooot, it disappeared into the ring in an instant. Turned my ring to a mercury color and ruined it. I was sure bummed that the teacher didn't warn us.
Anyway I don't think any of us has ever died from mercury poisoning.
And don't ask me about Penta, the wood preservative I used to get soaked in while sloshing it on 2 by 4's all day long in the late 50's and is now banned from the face of the earth by the EPA because it's so toxic.