The Night Before Defense (or A Visit From St. Linus)

‘Twas the night before defense, when all through the lab Not a gel box was shaking, with stain or with mAb;

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'Twas the night before defense, when all through the lab
Not a gel box was shaking, with stain or with mAb;
The columns were hung in the cold room with care,
In hopes that my protein I soon could prepare.
The post-docs were nestled all smug in their beds,
While extracts of barley muddled their heads.
With the tech in the suburbs and Prof much the same,
I had just settled down to another video game.
When out of the fridge there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the terminal to see what was the matter.
Away to the cold box, I flew like a flash
But the stench was o'erpowering, my teeth I did gnash.
The mold on the dampest of walls which were cold
Had the softness of kittens only seven weeks old;
When what to my view, a thing I despise,
But a half-eaten sandwich and four tiny mice;
With a little old scientist, so lively and galling,
I knew at a glance that it was Linus Pauling.
More vapid than undergrads, his charges they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them rude names.
"Now, Watson! Now Crick! You strange little modellers!
On Luria! On Bertani! You silly old broth-meddlers!
To the top of the bench, to the top of the wall!
Purify! Purify! Purify all!"
As dry heaves before the committee meeting bend
A young student's body and his stomach offend,
So up their earlobes, acytes they grew,
With a sack full of antibodies, their skins turning blue.
And then, for a second, I heard from the 'fuge,
An unbalanced rotor spinning something too huge.
From where I put my hand, to better hear the sound,
Came the snapping of sparks from a wire, sans ground.
Pauling's coif was all wavy, and I thought I must be sick
'Cause the curl in his hair made it look like a helix.
On an arm-load of oranges, he started to snack
And I realized his mania for ascorbate was back.
His eyes were all wrinkled, but the cheeks were yet red;
Not too shabby for a man who was several years dead;
The leer of his smile was just a tad scary
And the snow on his rooftop made his head yet quite hairy;
The end of a pipette, he held in his teeth
And a pile of benchcoat lay down at his feet.
He held a small vial of something quite gel-ly,
A mercaptan no doubt, for it made him quite smelly.
He changed 'round my columns, adding to the confusion
And I laughed out loud to spite my paranoid delusion.
A wink of his eye and a rotation of his head,
Told me whatever I'd drank would soon leave me dead.
He spoke not a word, just messed up my buffers,
And dried all my resins, that silly old duffer.
And separating his middle finger from first, fourth and third,
That crazy, old bugger simply flipped me the bird.
He grabbed up his cohorts and ran down the hall,
And away they all flew, letting me take the fall.
That is why, dear Committee, I am saddened to say,
I need a five-year extension, starting today.
Season's greetings to one and all!

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