Thursday, December 20, 2012

'Twas the night before Christmas, revised 2012

'Twas the  night before Christmas
(revised by Ken, 2012, After Clement C Moore, 1823)

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a lab-tech was stirring, nor even a mouse;
The grant had been written with meticulous care,
In hopes that the funding soon would be there;

The mice all in cages were snug in their beds,
While visions of pellet food danced in their heads;
The post-docs and students, with notes in their laps,
Had just nodded off for unauthorized naps,

When out in the hall there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bench to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tossed on my lab coat and tightened the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But the boss of the lab, a professor not dear,

With inquisitive glances, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it was a lab-check.
More rapid than eagles his paces they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called us by name;

Snap out of your doze, don’t continue to stall!
Now work away! work away! work away all!"

He knew not that our gels had defied PCR,
And failed to yield meaningful sequence so far,
So back to our toiling (with cursing) we flew,
With our Eppendorf tubes, and our pipetters, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I dreamed up my ‘proof’,
Carefully covering each little goof,
In results that he needed, and was turning around,
As into the lab the Prof came with a bound.

He was sweating in fury, from his head to his foot,
A smoker, his clothes were tarnished with ashes and soot;
A sackful of reprints he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they squinted! his wrinkles a-worry!
His cheeks were all pasty, his nose like a cherry!
A drool from his mouth dripped down in a flow,

With a visage of terror as white as the snow;

The deadline approaching, he tight-gritted his teeth,
And horror belikened his head to a wraith;
He had a proud face and a little round belly,
That were he not Funded would quiver like jelly.

When he's fattened with grants, a right jolly old elf,
(And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself).
A glaze in his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know he was living in dread;

He spoke not a word, but he'd dreamt that his work,
Had filled all his wishes--til he'd waked with a jerk,
And realizing what happened and snorting his nose,
As somberly nodding, from this reverie he rose:

    That he'd sprung to his mailbox, where erupted a tear,
    The envelope opened—and we'd all heard him swear, 
    “The grant will be funded!  The budget’s all right!


Marnie said...

I hope Santa is generous.

Ken Weiss said...

Well, we can't speak for his views on science or on what kinds of grants should be funded as holiday 'gifts' (because they weren't really worth it otherwise?).

BUT we do believe we can speak for something else scientific about Santa, and that will be our Christmas-day post!