Details and Transcript


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To my supercalifragilisticexpialidocious family and friends. Near and far. Old and new. This is Kevin Mercurio on the mic. And welcome to a, ummmm, floating episode of the Metaphorigins podcast.


I just wanted to provide an update on the what the heck has been going on. Remember that time I took a month break to work on an academic paper back in the summer? Oh how long ago that feels. Well I am taking yet another break to work on that exact same paper as I now have time to finish the last few experiments in the lab that I work at. Those were my academic responsibilities that I’ve decided to focus on until the new year.


However, during this time I have been working hard on creating the framework for a very ambitious 3rd Season of this podcast. Think one of those long episodes but with metaphorical content, science content and interviews with really cool people! As soon as this paper goes out this will be one of my primary focuses.


I have also been experimenting with other endeavours. I was lucky enough to be a part of a digital scicomm panel hosted by Science Networkers, a great podcast run by two awesome women with the idea of connecting up and comers with people already in the sci comm space. Their episode featuring the panel should be out by now, or at least in the short while, so I will provide a link in the description to keep an eye out for it.


I was also given the opportunity to present at the annual Canadian Science Grand Slam! This is a national event that has the best and brightest communicators from around the country compete on delivering a science-y topic of their choosing to a lay audience. The virtual performance has no rules, except for the fact that you cannot use powerpoint as your vehicle of delivering information. I’m happy to announce that I was 3rd in the audience vote, but lost to two amazing pieces by a fellow poetry slammer and a puppet master. It was a lot of fun and will share their youtube channel in the description for you to check out all the performances.


I wanted to share my poetry piece through my podcast and will perform the poem in this episode. This time I won’t make any mistakes like forgetting my verses, at least that you know of, the power of editing! Anyway, the poem is a new piece titled “This ain’t no nursery rhyme” and is about a boy growing up in the age of technology and social media, along with the unconscious parallels he draws throughout his early life. And I hope you enjoy it.


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This ain’t no nursery rhyme

What I hope to convey

Through much dismay

Is something of a crime


This ain’t no nursery rhyme


Once upon a time,

there was a boy named Jay,

now Jay, see, lived in a poor neighbourhood

But the best part about it

Was that kids would love to play outside

And Jay loved to play

Like the game called manhunt where, well, just think hide and seek at a massive neighbourhood scale

Nothing was off limits

Locked parking garages, rooftops, treetops, and unfilled pools

yards in the elementary schools

They would shoot some basketball or marbles, 

play some beyblade or head to the local arcade

Then one day at school in 1998 Jay looked up and saw all his mates with a new toy

“Mom, can I get the new Gameboy?” Jay would say when he got home

“Ughhh,” his Mom would groan.

And Jay would play that toy every day

Not knowing he would be led astray


This ain’t no nursery rhyme


Now Jay went to a high school similar to mine

While most of his friends went to others closeby,

Some outside of the city or country

Shy and lonely, where did kids like Jay turn to?


That new and exciting thing that the adults keep talking about

That game with the name that the adults keep quiet about

That mobile phone we definitely did not need

Forgot joining clubs, forgot building relationships

Because that guy from the virtual village is loaded with quests

Then came the bullying, the derision,

Jay began to the notice the hierarchy of social status.

The school system that stacks us,

Attacks us,

Into a corner it backs us


This ain’t no nursery rhyme


Jay would listen to the repetitive relay,

“Kids will be kids, bygones be bygones, girls be girls”

That tautological reasoning was perplexing

Jay’s brain was warped, accepting,

crediting that adults have lived through it all and turned out fine

Then something completely new came online,

The advent of Facebook

The idea that if you wanted to be someone’s friend the gist

Was that you had to be accepted and judged on some public list

How measurable, how great for those who belonged,

how such a simple idea metastasized in the minds of young people like Jay

But that wasn’t the only idea

There was also the phenomenon of sharing intimate moments we acquired

Something that Jay absolutely desired

And despite how his eyes ached in their sockets

He stuck to his computer chair

Zombie scrolling with a blank stare

Even when his loving mom called for him to eat the dinner she prepared

And if he wasn’t looking at the illuminated black mirror

Jay was thinking about saving his virtual world from terror

Even when his hard-working dad came to ask about his day

“Stop bothering me!” was the common phrase

And he, without stirring a fight, 

hurt but mindful of his son’s stressful life, exits stage right


This ain’t no nursery rhyme


Now don’t get me wrong, there are friends of Jay's

Some of which still last to this day

Some of which Jay met in early life

Some of which Jay met in university

And fully encompassing the concept of serendipity  

He even had a few romantic relationships

Despite his immaturity

Not in the context of understanding scientific evidence

But in the context of emotional intelligence

Partners that just wanted to have Jay share

Understand the state of being here

For one Valentine’s Day, the moment before the breakup, 

Jay laid on a couch perusing through Reddit headlines of the corrupt,

and Instagram images of people he met at some gathering years ago

How could he know?

That he was about to end something beautiful because the real was more work through and through

A game that he could not stand to play, a platform he could no longer subscribe to

And as she cries while subtly hiding the gift she was about to give in a desk

Jay dives headfirst into an abyss


This ain't no nursery rhyme


The story of Jay

I’m sure you saw it coming from a mile away

This ain’t no nursery rhyme

This is my life, my time

This long winded anecdote articulated

n science experiment we did not sign up for

But inevitably participated

With a conclusion that these technologies are grasping for our attention

Armies of carnies trying to get you to play that rigged game

Under the veil of connection

But you knew that, right?

You saw that documentary on Netflix, right?

Or was it HBO, Vimeo, Youtube, Tik Tok, Snapchat,

Knick knack paddy wack

If we give our attention to all of these platforms,

What about people who matter more?

How can we change these new norms?

I don’t know the answer

But the first step towards change is awareness

And while I may not have triumphed this addiction,

and even promoted this event through the very media I scorn 

but am attempting to adorn

hear that I say this after fruition,

after hitting my personal rock bottom

In the moment, let’s remember to use our eyes, ears, mouth, hands and nose

so we could use the senses evolutionarily bestowed


This ain’t no nursery rhyme

Let’s choose what to give our time


Thank you.



And with that, stay skeptical but curious!


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