My Mate Doug

Doug is a man whose head bumps the sky.
Who's honest and generous and kind as he´s high.
(In the sense of being tall, that is.)
He´s never been known to give serious offence,
The rarest of gentleman, in the perfectest sense.

For Doug to get angry, would be naff to behold.
We´d all run for cover and dig ourselves holes.
I can imagine him roaring and stomping the lands,
And tearing down buildings with his great biggy hands.
But lucky for us, he´s not of that bent,
Blessed as he is with a mild temperament.

He likes to write software, which is somewhat lucky,
´Cos that´s what his job, just happens to be.
He writes it all day, and often all night,
To drag him away can at times be a fright.

And if need should arise for fixing a bug,
There´s few you could call who are better than Doug.
And if he should introduce one of his own,
As even the best are occasionally prone,
Through a rare and improbable lapse of his mind,
You can bet that it´s subtle and a right bugger to find.

In the little spare time he allots himself,
He browses the web or the books on his shelf.
He´s fond of his reading and thinks about stuff,
Like atoms and thinking and things that are tough.
Stuff that is boring for ordinary folks,
And only of interest to us nerdy blokes.

And each now and then, we meet up in a pub,
That´s sort of halfway ´twixt our places of work.
There´s nought we like more than a philosophic natter,
Over coke and a beer and a well turned out platter.

In all of our chats, we make it our mission,
To defend our respective mental positions.
He, a rugged materialist, of reductive persuasion.
I, unfashionable dualist, a closet Cartesian.
(That´s ´cos I can´t stop believing in God,
Though I no longer see much need for the sod.)

We talk about consciousness, qualia too,
And if we all see the same colour blue.
Whether or not we´re just brains in a vat,
And how to get zombies to feel like a bat.
When it gets a bit lively, the pub clientele,
Start glancing askance, "are they feeling quite well?"

Another topic, which we like to contrive,
Is whether our species will get to survive.
And how long we´ve got till the end of the oil,
And if we´d live past the ensuing turmoil.
But we´d both be too nice to survive in such times,
So let´s hope against hope that it just works out fine.

When Doug married Jean I was there at his side,
Doug´s bestest man, at least best could provide.
Later that day, I made a bit of a speech,
Which I somehow pulled off, without etiquette breach.
It made me feel good, in a nauseous way,
Character forming, but a memorable day.

And now he´s turned forty, but doesn´t want fuss.
Drinking and parties and all that rumpus,
Are just not his scene. He´d much rather stay in,
Watch something romantic with Sidney* and Jean.
Or for dinner for two, he´ll maybe go out,
(with Jean, not Sidney)
Then go watch a movie with explosions throughout.

´Tis time to wind up this banterous prattle,
As thinking up rhymes is a bit of a battle.
But I just want to say, as your life now begins, (at 40)
And as must we all, you grow some more chins,
I can only wish, what´s to come is not bad,
And it´s at least as good as the bit you´ve just had.

Have a wonderful birthday, most excellent friend,
A long, happy life, and a quick, painless end.

Yours ever John

* Sidney is their devastatingly cute Yorkshire Terrier.

Copyright © John Ferngrove 2009