Jeff is now a Senior Staff Scientist at WIBIE and is working on Synthetic Biology with the Silver Lab.
Item 1: A poem.
About once a year, my company (EMD Lexigen Research Center, a unit of Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany; soon to be Merck-Serono) has a clean-up day called "Pig-Out Day" during which all work must stop a everyone cleans up their office/lab space. ("Pig-Out" refers to getting the pigs out....).
To inspire people in their cleaning efforts, the company solicited poetry. Some people submitted limericks. Below is my submission. The organizer of Pig-Out Day claimed to not understand my poem, but felt that I deserved a prize in any case. I won a $5 gift certificate for a purchase at Dunkin' Donuts.
Squeal by Jeff Way (with apologies to Allen Ginsburg)
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by cleanliness, crazed drooling wrapped in lab coats, dragging themselves through the late-night fluorescent corridors, pimply-faced genius-nerds high on phenol fumes and accidentally ingested E. coli, staring vacantly at the psychedelic covers of outdated Stratagene catalogues, week-old unopened FedEx envelopes, unstapled reprints, confidential documents covered with coffee stains mud and recombinant DNA, 2-liter bottles of Coca-Cola sitting in ice buckets next to restriction enzymes in filthy, roach-infested labs, mouth-pipetting radioactive chloroform extractions while chewing a chocolate bar and smoking a cigarette, free-basing off a Bunsen burner while sterilizing an inoculating loop, drawing lines of cocaine on sequencing gel plates, impaling the palms of their hands with 200 microliter pipette tips, fingers pierced and bleeding from syringes full of cesium chloride and ethidium bromide, entranced by the paralyzing fear of order, of structure, of thought-limiting empty spaces on clean desks and in vast empty hallways, seeking instead to suckle at the breast of serendipity, working thinking losing finding destroying creating in a rat’s nest of science.