A Visit from St. Nick Translation

'Twas the night before _______, and all through the lab,
I moped at a lab bench dirty and drab.
Grad students went dancing after 4 o'clock classes,
Taking my beakers as beer-drinking glasses.

The Lab Manager left, and didn't come back,
After placing our order for buffers and Taq.
My PI's departure made the crowd even thinner,
As she dashed to another faculty dinner.

I'd grabbed a quick dinner and was back by eight,
When the undergrads left because it was "late."
So for four hours now, I've been here alone,
Working my Postdoc fingers to the bone.

While my PI rests soundly in her comfortable bed,
With dreams of R01 grants stir-barring in her head,
I'm pouring over mounds of sequencing data,
That our bioinformaticist claimed he'd "get to late-a."

As my lab-mates rest in pleasant tranquility,
I worry ‘bout transfected cells' viability.
Between qPCR runs to measure expression,
I lament my role in Postdoc oppression.

Perhaps it was the data, or perhaps the time,
(Or because it helped this ridiculous rhyme),
But I soon drifted off in a blissful slumber
Dreaming of my grant’s pay-line number.

In my dreams I heard a cacophonous BOOM,
A bang on the fume hood at the end of the room;
The hood that helped us pursue scientific hunches
And vented the stench of grad student lunches.

Out from the hood through the air did he float,
In fogged safety goggles and dingy lab coat.
On the front of his coat it said only “Director,”
And “NIH” adorned his pocket protector.

With lens paper he cleared his glasses of fog
After cleansing his lips of residual eggnog.
His face wasn’t solid, kind of agarose gel-ly,
Like made from a polymer, but not quite as smelly.

He wore dark socks under his sandals.
His pants looked like he'd been beaten by Vandals.
One leg of his pants was covered in cuts—
Nicks in his pants made by cigarette butts.

The nicks in his pants confirmed my suspicion.
As clearly as my grant reviewer's decision.
Here was a legend in labs 'cross the nation.
It had to be him—Saint Nick Translation!

Safety badges littered his back like spots,
As he strolled to the front of the lab’s mail slots.
The bag on his back had taken a beating,
An aged souvenir from a scientific meeting.

Despite his arrival I was ready to doze,
Expecting only junk from cheap vendor shows.
As soon as he spoke it was clear in his rants,
He had more than junk—he was handing out grants!

“For the dasher” — my PI who dashed to the dinner,
“An R01 grant to staff thicker, not thinner.”
“For the dasher, the dancers, and all that needs fixin’,
An S10 for systems that’ve been here since Nixon.”

He turned as he placed the last grant on the shelf.
And overcome by sleep in spite of myself,
I heard his voice as my sleep started new,
“Don’t worry; I also have something for you.”

I dreamt through the night of scientific renown,
Fame everywhere—not just in this town.
Becoming Department Head and academic climber,
When I was jolted awake by someone’s lab timer.

Clearly the visitor was not what he seemed,
But something imagined as a Postdoc dreamed.
At the next journal review, I’ll have a great tale,
I thought as I looked through my campus mail.

When what to my wond’rous eyes did appear,
But an NIH letter titled, “Open Here.”
I tore it open—I couldn’t wait any later:
My K99 grant for New Investigator!

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for using Roche Applied Science systems and reagents to help make the discoveries that move science forward!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a fruitful 2014.

Happy Holidays,
Roche Applied Science

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