A Christmas Lab Story

I hope you don’t have to work too much over the holidays. Anyone who has experienced frantic days trying to finish up experiments before a holiday might sympathize with this Christmas tale. Hopefully it will make you smile, whether you are working on Christmas Eve or not.

‘Twas the night before Christmas so Why? you may ask,
were the beakers all stirring, and even a flask?
Who is working so hard on a night such as this?
When all is supposed to be heavenly bliss?

One lonely student stood there with pipette
He was nearly finished, he might make it yet
To get home to his family in time to enjoy
Celebrations, good cheer and the wrapping of toys

On the radio Carols were blaring with might
There was hope in the air, the end was in sight
One more thing to do and then home he would go
With a spring in his step as his heart hoped for snow

Then right by the bench there arose such a clatter
As a vial fell onto the floor and did shatter
My enzyme dilution! He cried in despair
With his head in his hands, he sank onto his chair.

Alas that was all that I had! He did cry
As forlornly to spin down the dregs he did try
There isn’t enough, he thought with a shiver
And tomorrow is Christmas-no one will deliver

About to give up and go home to his bed
A vision of hope danced about in his head
Away through the hallways he flew like a kid
Ran down to the freezer and threw up the lid

With purpose he scanned all the tubes in the rack
And quickly discarded both this one and that
He reached to the back with increasing alarm
Christmas Eve in the lab was fast losing its charm

But just when he wondered if all had been lost
He spied in the corner all covered in frost
An old tube encircled in snow like a wreath
He lifted it out, hardly daring to breathe

On clearing the label he breathed a great sigh
Its just what I needed, Eureka! he cried.
As there to his wondering eyes did appear
The name that he sought, the enzyme most dear

He quickly completed the work yet to do
Then rushed out the door, filled with hope all anew
And I heard him exclaim as he turned out the light
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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Isobel Maciver

Isobel is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and of Aston University in Birmingham, U.K. She is a technical writer and editor, and is also manager of the Scientific Communications group at Promega. She enjoys writing about issues in science and communication.

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