Agent NaNH2 took his seat in front of me. He was compact and powerfully built, and it wasn't hard to imagine him dispensing of his sodium with considerable effect.
"So, they tell me you're a killer base" I said.
"I live to steal from carbons..." he paused, then shook a hydrogen at me for effect.
"Look, we're about to go into court. I think its about time you understand that I'm going to be arguing your case in front of a room full of high-class carbons, I think there may even be some terminal alkynes in there...
What you need to understand is that the trial lawyer is a strongly acidic chap. While it may be tempting for you to bite for any hydrogen he puts under your nose, you are going to have to hold back so that I can have time to get in and kick off one of their leaving groups. Just hold your sodium, and we'll be fine!"
We took the next current into the courtroom. There, the Hon. Judge Krypton sat apart from the rather unkempt jury of water molecules who had so far been frustrated in their attempts to sit still.
My client came in under a heavy guard of sacrificial hydrogen ions, in case he decided to do anything drastic. Just as the court was starting proceedings, one of the younger water molecules in the jury hollered:
"It's too hot in here! I can't sit still!"
Judge Krypton ordered a massive nonane with a terminal oxoanion to come and H- bond with one of the disgruntled water molecule's hydrogens. After that, the courtroom came to order.
The judge briefly summarized the case, repeating only the barest facts for the enjoyment of the packed auditorium. Agent NaNH2 had been accused of disrupting the integrity of a massive carbon molecule by systematically deprotenating the carbon chain.
The case really hinged on whether Agent NaNH2 had been present in sufficient molarity at the alleged time and location of the incident. The prosecution cut quickly in this direction by attempting to produce a reprobate young pH indicator to corroborate the assertion. I countered by arguing that despite the evident neutrality of this hearing, the witness was blushing a bright pink, which demonstrated that he wasn't really a reliable indicator at all.
This objection was upheld by the judge, and the prosecutor was forced to change his tack. Suddenly, one of the bejewelled cyclohexanes in the audience swooned. I suppose they have neither the sense nor the stability of their relatives the benzenes.
Presently, an elderly and eloquent gentlechem stood up. He was known fondly in the community as LDA, but few of us knew if his reputation for forming amicable alkenes (across primary, secondary, and tertiary boundaries) in the community was commensurate with the appropriation of that grandiose identity.
"My dear Chems. Whether ye be reactive or inert, chiral or meso, s or p, or potentially come from an ozmolyzed family... do ye not think Markovnikov's rule a most despicable and shameless piece of fraudery ever yet or hereunto hither produced?"
This catalyzed a clash between the young leftist radicals who subscribed to the oxymercuration-reduction philosophs, and the older Boranes who were still quite opposed to the brewing thoughts of carbocation stability.
Judge Krypton, sitting impassive and inert, hurled a desperate young hydrogen in the direction of the hubub, which quickly silenced all contentions.
"It comes into my mind that our good friend the elder cyclopropane is enduring significant strain at the moment, and that a break would be in order." Judge Krypton now squeaked in an unusally high and insistent voice.
I wished, as I got up to turn off my alarm clock, that I could somehow have joined the elderchem cyclopropyl in his search for relief... neck-strain isn't the only kind of stress we share.
Flowers in Africa
4 weeks ago