Back at the end of my sophomore year of college, after two semesters of Organic Chemistry, my naturally humor-seeking mind got to thinking about a top ten list about organic chemistry. This was partly inspired by the top ten list I wrote in 11th grade for my BC Calculus class, Top Ten Signs You’ve Been in BC Calculus Way Too Long. So I thought about this for just a few days, and before I knew it, I had some pretty funny ideas. I mentioned it to my friend Lynley when I sat down to study with her in the science library one night. I think she gave me the idea for #8. My friend Bryn was a chemistry major at William and Mary, so I told her to think of some ideas for me, and all she could come up with was something about the compounds in shampoo, which became #7, which, incidentally, got the biggest laughs when the professor read it in class.
Oh, yeah, that was the entire point: to give it to him to read to the class on the last day of the year, after we had all been through two semesters of Orgo together. We had a huge auditorium with about 400 or 500 students, so I was writing for a big audience. Also #2 is about Dr. Morrison, so you’d only get it if he was your professor. Actually, that one might have been the funniest.
The thing is, nobody ever knew I wrote it. Dr. Morrison mentioned sort of quietly that “a student brought this to me” as he was putting it on the overhead projector, but lots of people were talking and he was interrupted by a student in the front row, so most people probably didn’t hear that and thought he wrote it. But I did, and my modesty prevented me from telling anyone. It consists mostly of esoteric jokes, so if you haven’t had Organic Chemistry or you forgot most of it, this won’t seem as funny as it was back then. But believe me, it was a huge success. I think it’s safe to say that was my proudest non-academic moment of college…
TOP TEN SIGNS YOU’VE BEEN IN ORGANIC CHEMISTRY WAY TOO LONG
10. Every time you see a stop sign, you shout, “Cyclooctane!”
9. You accidentally called your dog Benji “Benzene.”
8. When you saw the Red & Black headline about that weird UGA student, Ioulia Zaitseva, the first thing you thought was, “Hey, Zaitseva—like Zaitsev’s rule!”
7. You can draw some of the compounds listed on your shampoo bottle.
6. It’s becoming all too common that when you write the word “chemistry,” you start it with CH3.
5. (FILL IN YOUR OWN CLEAVAGE JOKE HERE.)
4. You’re so delirious from studying late every night that you’re thinking maybe the final won’t be so hard.
3. Your best pickup line is, “I can’t spell nucleophile without U!”
2. You’ve added words like “snarf,” “goober,” and “honking” to your everyday vocabulary.
1. To be politically correct, you’ve started referring to fat people as “sterically hindered.”