IT Limericks, Sort Of


by Tim Moran

Over at IT Professionals I found this little review of a book called "The Performance Engineering Book Of Nonsense: A Tale Of The Tardy, In Limericks."

I haven't read a good IT limerick in some time, so I snapped to attention. The author of this work is Ramkumar Ramaswamy, co-founder of Performance Engineering Associates, a consulting firm that "specializes in scientific, quantitative techniques for performance engineering of IT systems."

His work is said to be "Inspired by Edward Lear's The Book of Nonsense," and represents "his maiden foray into limericks."

Well, not exactly.

Once we've internalized the premise--"Battle-scarred IT veterans will find this tongue-in-cheek narrative evoking a strong sense of déjà vu, and will discover unusual insights into why things invariably go wrong in the slippery world of performance engineering"--there are the poems themselves to consider.

Anyone audacious enough to write poetry about IT performance engineering had better have a deft hand at crafting a limerick, which has a standard form. Without going into a study of metric feet and rhyme schemes, here's a famous limerick (they all sound pretty much like this one):

The limerick packs laughs anatomical In space that is quite economical, But the good ones I've seen So seldom are clean, And the clean ones so seldom are comical.

Here's one of Ramaswamy's:

Why "nonsense" besides the inspiration from Lear? Though the science has been around for many a year, I am usually bemused That the science is unused By practitioners wedded to "intuition" and trial and error.

Heh? Even if you have never read a poem before, I think it's pretty clear that these two verses do not sound alike. And rhyming "many a year" with "trial and error" is a bit of a ways from Shakespeare--or even Dr. Seuss, for that matter. I suppose IT performance engineering needs as much help as it can get, and Ramaswamy's intentions are well taken. But, dude! Limericks these ain't; nonsense, certainly.

There once was a consultant named Ram Who penned IT poems and, Bam! His book was reviewed Though his verse was quite skewed For if Limericks these are I'll be damned.