The Preservation of Man, Woman, and Any Other Adult Over 21

I was going through some old papers in preparation for moving, and I found this poem, which I had copied down from the wall of Johnny Joe’s pub in Cushendall, Northern Ireland. (I lived there for the summer of 2003.) It amused me then and it still amuses me now, so here it is:

The Preservation of Man

The horse and mule live 30 years
and know nothing of wine and beers.
The goat and sheep at 20 die
with never a taste of scotch or rye.
The cow drinks water by the ton
and at 18 is mostly done.
The dog at 15 cashes in
without the aid of rum or gin.
The cat in milk and water soaks
and then in 12 short years it croaks.
The modest, sober, bone dry hen
lays eggs for nogs and dies at 10.
All animals are strictly dry
they sinless live and swiftly die!
But sinful, ginful, rumsoaked men
survive for three score years and ten.
And some of us, though mighty few
stay pickled ’til we’re 92.


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