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  • John M. Campbell

The Ballad of Don Mirrione

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

Don Mirrione managed the subcontract Northrop Grumman had with General Dynamics for us to produce two software subsystems. As the project manager for the Northrop side, I dealt directly with Don as we progressed with the development and delivery of our software. Don was hired by GD from outside to be the subcontract manager, so he worked under management who were unsure whether he was up to the task they hired him to do. I quickly recognized in Don how competent he was in managing the ups and downs of software development, and he saw the same competence in me. We became a team where he shielded us from the whims of GD management, and I provided the data he needed to keep them at bay. Together, we delivered the software GD needed on the schedule required. Don also had a story for every situation, as I describe in the poem I wrote for him.

The Ballad of Don Mirrione

Out in Scottsdale, Arizona is a man named Mirrione,

But to hear him talk it’s clear he’s far from home.

In a meeting on an issue he will give his testimony,

Then you know he’s got the New York chromosome.

He is somewhat small in stature; with those tiny hands and feet

At the dojo he’s the demon they call Don.

He’s a black belt martial artist, and the fighters that he beat

Say it’s like he’s an Italian leprechaun.

As if ancestors in Ireland had bequeathed their gift of gab,

Mirrione loves to share with us a tale

Of whatever strikes his fancy, maybe exploits from rehab,

Or the time his cousin Vinny was in jail.

Every incident reminds him of a story he would tell,

An amusing anecdote he thinks applies

To a point that he is making that he really wants to sell

To the ones that think it’s all pack of lies.

Then he takes a sudden exit down an off-ramp that reminds him

Of a story of the late Saint Augustine,

Or positions from his yoga class that only further winds him

Up: a squirrel overdosed on pure caffeine.

You can almost trace the firing of the neurons in his brain

As they make their strange transitions from one story to the next,

And his stream of conscious thinking now becomes torrential rain

Streaming down from holy heaven leaving listeners perplexed

As the constant twists and turns have caused us all to lose the thread,

And his comm. line with the group becomes unstable.

What returns us to the present is the thwack of Schwartze’s head

When he dozes off and squarely hits the table.

For a guy that trims his mustache as to match his eyebrow size

You might think he’s not the sharpest knife around.

And yet when his team delivers right on time, one must surmise,

That he’s got to be the luckiest guy in town!

John M. Campbell

November 2007

Click here for my previous poem, The Day I Played Golf with Ron Bero

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