Christmas Chemistry

It’s Christmas, it’s Christmas, the Pudding is flat
Flatter than the mat on which the cat sat
With a consistency of Blu-Tack to the power of three
Methinks that someone forgot to add the NaHCO3
Never mind, it’s time again for the carols to sing
The reindeer bells are ringing, let them ring
Rudolf’s nose is red, and resplendently so
Too much UV, he forgot to put on his ZnO

You’ve stuffed yourself silly with Christmas fare
Roast turkey, potatoes, cranberries, pickled hare
A selection of cheeses, Christmas cookies galore
Quadruple chocolate mousse; and you kept having more
Now a complicated gut impaction has you at death’s door
You need a funnel, an assistant, and hydrated MgSO4
If your case is so desperate that even this will not do
Try liquid hydrocarbon of general formula CNH2N+2
Said liquid also applied with a funnel, of course –
That should work for you; it works in a horse

This ancient remedy having been effective for you
You feel obliged to go and party until half past two
Now post-party muscle cramps are giving you hell
You’re electrolyte depleted, so administer KCl
And try drinking some H20 for a change
Your friends, of course, may be finding this strange

Next morning, or perhaps should that be noon
You’ll invariably feel you’ve awoken too soon
So black coffee, number of teaspoons of this seven
And you might also need a little C12H22O11
Some people like to have this intravenously
But the conventional method will do for me

There are also Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Of course, should you be feeling as if jewel bugs
Are crawling nonstop beneath your fingernails
And your very last neurons are going off the rails
All perfectly legal, as doubtless you knew before
Found on your supermarket shelf as C9H8O4

There’s a saying about learning from the past
Else history will be the one laughing last
Alas, it is time to bring this tale to an end
And so I will be wishing you, my friend:

Merry Christmas

PS: Formula C2H5OH was absent from this poem, I admit
Because the author could find nothing to rhyme with it.
However, it represents significant progress (and more)
As this author’s poems have rarely rhymed before.

This poem was written as a warning for my Year 12 students in 1999.
Lifestyle advice is always free. 🙂

Glossary For Rusty Chemists

NaHCO3 = sodium bicarbonate (raising agent)

ZnO = zinc oxide, physical sun barrier found in zinc cream

MgSO4 = magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts)

CNH2N+2 == general liquid hydrocarbon formula, standing in for liquid paraffin whose exact formula doesn’t rhyme

KCl = potassium chloride, one of a number of major mammalian electrolytes

H20 = please! If you don’t know this one, where have you been?

C12H22O11 = sucrose (table sugar)

C9H8O4 = aspirin

C2H5OH = ethanol (drinking alcohol)

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