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I’m a winner! A limerick winner!

After many years of intermittent entries, I have at long last won the monthly mini-Annals of Improbable Research Limerick Competition. Woohoo! Ish.

AIR presents research that one might find celebrated at the Ig Nobels. In fact, AIR is the creator of the Ig Nobels. AIR’s monthly mini version is free and amusing.

The limerick had to be about: “Preoperative and postoperative gait analyses of patients undergoing great toe-to-thumb transfer,” from the Journal of Hand Surgery, vol. 12, no. 1, 1987, pp 66-69. Rich comic material, obviously.

“Your gait will be fine, understand,
If we sew a toe onto your hand.
   If we did the reverse
   It might be much worse,”
Said the doc in remarks made off hand.

This month’s article for your limericking is: “Improving Phrap-Based Assembly of the Rat Using ‘Reliable’ Overlaps.”

I shall see you on the five-line field of battle!

3 Responses to “I’m a winner! A limerick winner!”

  1. That is very funny and very clever. I couldn’t find the related article in their site, but I am not sure why it is considered “improbable research”, as the operation is done occasionally, I believe, and can restore function to a hand. I can understand why they would want to evaluate the patient’s walking afterward, compared to before the surgery. In any case, be careful with table saws and chain saws.


  2. But the limerick is in fact wrong :-). The reverse, if it were done for some reason (thumb -> missing great toe) would likely not make the gait “much worse”, but at least slightly better. That is, imagine there were an accident (say an explosion) which ripped off a person’s great toe and also their hand, and their hand couldn’t be re-attached because the arm was too badly damaged. If the thumb were then used to replace the missing toe, the person would likely walk better in that case. Maybe lines 3 and 4 should be something like:

    You’ll now have a thumb
    yet still be able to run


    Your grip will be whole,
    you can still take a stroll

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