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James A. Landau JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Sun Jun 10 16:46:47 EDT 2018


You have a very garbled version of Asimov's story.

Asimov went to the laboratory stockroom for some paradimethylamino benzaldehyde and the stock clerk said, "Oh you mean" and sang the name to the Irish Washerwoman tune.

Asimov immediately responded by saying "Dactylic tetrameter" and other things to put the stock clerk in his place.  However, the stock clerk had the last laugh, as Asimov found himself with the chemical's name and the Irish Washerwoman tune as an earworm.

Sometime later he had an appointment and was singing that earworm when the secretary (probably not an old Irish woman) said, "Ah, you know it in the original Gaelic!".  So he had himself announced as "Isaac O'Asimov".

- Jim Landau


On Sat, 9 Jun 2018 19:16:41 Zone-0400 Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM> wrote:


>In the story, Asimov is trying to memorize the name of the compound, and
>realizes its rhythm is the same as that of "The Irish Washerwoman". He is
>repeating it to himself out loud as he goes about his day, and at one point
>an old Irish woman hears him and says, "Ah, you know it in the original Gaelic!"

On Sat, Jun 9, 2018, 5:19 PM Mark Mandel <mark.a.mandel at gmail.com> 
wrote:

> I don't think I know the story,* but the song is fun:
>
> *The Chemists' Drinking Song*
>
> http://www-cs.canisius.edu/~salley/SCA/Bardbook/chemist.html (very
> slightly
> edited by yours truly)
>
> Words by : John A. Carroll (inspired by Isaac Asimov)
> Tune of : The Irish Washerwoman
>
> Paradimethylaminobenzaldehyde,
> Sodium citrate, ammonium cyanide,
> Mix 'em together and add some benzene,
> And top off the punch with trichloroethylene.
>
> Got gassed up last night with some furfuryl alcohol,
> Followed it up with a gallon of propanol,
> Tanked up on hydrazine 'til after noon,
> Then spit on the floor and blew up the saloon.
>
> Paradimethylaminobenzaldehyde,
> Powdered aluminum, nitrogen iodide,
> Chlorates, permanganates, nitrates galore,
> Just swallow one drink and you'll never need more.
>
> Whiskey, tequila, and rum are too tame.
> No, the stuff that I drink must explode into flame,
> When I breathe and dissolve all the paint in the room,
> And rattle the walls in a ground-shaking boom.
>
> Paradimethylaminobenzaldehyde,
> Go soak your head in a good strong insecticide,
> Slosh it around and impregnate your brain,
> With dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane.
>
> (BTW, it's *...aldehyde*, not ...ald*i*hyde.)
>
> * 1963 humorous essay entitled "You, too, can speak Gaelic"
> (https://en. <https://en.pm>wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_language
> #Isaac_Asimov_essay)


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