These are exactly as I typed them. No later editing allowed.
At .01 blood alcohol concentration, stone-cold sober:
On Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle
of Quantum Physics
Herr Dr. H, you’ve found great fame
From the axiom that bears your name.
It says we can’t know things for sure
(Further details are obscure).
You swear you’re right. You are, I guess.
But there’s a question I must press.
I hope I’m not your feelings hurtin’ —
But: How can you be really certain?
At .04 BAC, mildly buzzed but safe to drive:
On the Effectiveness of Representative Democracy in the United States Vis a Vis Efficiently Effectuating the Will of the People
For efficiency, we’re tailor-made,
On that you can rely.
The pols you can’t outright persuade
You usually can buy.
At .07 BAC, prohibited from driving in some states:
On Prostate Exams
I hate this procedure. It’s cruel and absurd.
Men should agree to flip it the bird.
More to the point, as indignities linger,
We ought to collectively give it the finger.
At .11 BAC, legally impaired in all 50 states:
On the Mental Acuity of Dogs
Dogs are adorable. Dogs are devoted.
Dogs, as a rule, have plenty of smarts.
But as a (much cleverer) human once noted —
The species is oddly surprised by its farts.
At .13 BAC, a DUI waiting to happen:
On the Wisdom of Moderation in All Things
This is a byword and a vow
Of philosopher and monk.
But I’ll embrace it, too, for now
As I’m just moderately drunk.
At .15 BAC, a one-car fatal waiting to happen:
On the Meaning of Life
“The meaning of life is that it ends.”
(Credit that to Kakfa, friends.)
“The meaning of life is Stella Artois.”
(That one, you may credit to moi.)
At .17 BAC. No further description necessary:
On My Love for Republicans
Repulbicans are fabulous
Only because I love elephants.
As animals, theyre fantabulous
And they won’t reduce expenditures for Pell Grants.
E-mail Gene at email@example.com. Find chats and updates at washingtonpost.com/magazine.