Poem of Advice


(by Jim Holt, for his stalwart but sometimes uncouth friend, Christopher Hitchens)

Don't tipple at tiffin(1)
Or roar(2) for your rum.
Don't scowl at a griffin(3)--
You'll only look dumb.

Don't nobble your neighbors(4)
Or haver(5) at bees;
But strive to be kindly
And always to please(6).

Notes:

(1) Hitchens is known to imbibe immoderately at luncheon.

(2) When his spirituous beverage is slow in coming to the table, Hitchens often raises his voice at the waiter/bartender.

(3) The griffin, being a union of terrestrial beast and aerial bird, is seen in Christianity as a symbol of Jesus, whom Hitchens deplores.

(4) In the "Watkins leaving-present affair"of the late '70s, Hitchens collected handsome subscriptions from his fellow New Statesman staffers for the departing Alan Watkins, yet produced a meagre gift.

(5) Hitchens is wont to haver at any animate audience, including bees.

(6) Although he is a man of great courage and conviction, Hitchens is not known for his complaisance.

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