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Song Parodies -> "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Surgeon General"

Original Song Title:

"I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General"

Original Performer:

D'Oyly Carte Light Opera Company

Parody Song Title:

"I Am the Very Model of a Modern Surgeon General"

Parody Written by:

John Anthony La Pietra

The Lyrics

Just about as originally written in 1998. You might guess that from who’s mentioned here. (Including John Engler may clue some folks in to the fact that I lived, and live, in Michigan.) You might also be able to guess the age of the piece from what isn’t mentioned as modern technology. Whether you guessed or not, enjoy!

I am the very model of a modern Surgeon General –
I’ve information on each vital vitamin and mineral;
I know the terms of science and I cite procedures medical
(I have to list abortion first in order alphabetical);
I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters vet’rinarian;
Belong to 4-H, FFA, and yet I’m a Rotarian;
About the problems of our youth I’m teeming with a lot of news . . .
With many tearful figures on the rate of teen-age condom use.
(Chorus: “With many,” etc. x3)

I’m very good at fighting off bacteria and viruses,
And speaking to the CDC by faxes, phones, or wirelesses:
In short, to eyes of Senators conservative and liberal,
I am the very model of a modern Surgeon General.
(Chorus: “In short,” etc.)

I know my medic’s folklore (from my days at the Academy),
And things about the body that are not in Gray’s Anatomy;
I quote from Nurembergia the crimes of Dr. Mengele;
I know who tends to overweight, like Clinton and John Engeler!
I can tell colonic X-ray shots from CAT scans of a lot o’ rope;
I know the themes from ER, M*A*S*H, St. Elsewhere, and Chicago Hope!
And I can touch on touchy fields that give the world a pack o’ grief . . .
Like all the fields still growing that unhappy crop, tobacco leaf!
(Chorus: “Like all,” etc. x3)

Then I can write prescriptions so your druggist couldn’t read a line,
And tell you how to pick a calf to start a better breeder line:
In short, to eyes of Senators conservative and liberal,
I am the very model of a modern Surgeon General.
(Chorus: “In short,” etc.)

In fact, when I know why beer makes one quite as tight as bubbly can;
When I can tell at sight a Democrat from a Republican;
When I can lay all questions of where social ills begin to rest,
And when I know exactly what is meant by “special interest”;
When I have learnt what uninsured gay mates who want to marry do;
When I know more of health care plans than both Louise and Harry do,
You’ll say, as Surgeon General this nominee’s a winnah, for . . .
I always look so fetching in my new HMO pinafore!
(Chorus: “He/she always looks,” etc. x3)

Now, my politicking, lobbying, and Beltway educa-a-tion
Is only up-to-date as of the Ford administra-a-tion,
But still, to eyes of Senators conservative and liberal,
I am the very model of a modern Surgeon General.
(Chorus: “But still,” etc.)

For a number of years, this was posted on a Website with a lot of other Gilbert & Sullivan parodies -- some of them (at least arguably) better than this one. Probably the one best known is another send-up of this same song . . . done as an aria in another, unknown G & S operetta: _Xena, or The Warrior Princess_. That one was titled "I Am the Very Model of a Heroine Barbarian." If anyone finds that comprehensive parody page, please let me know. In the meantime, I'll also be trying to (finally!) make use of the Webspace that comes with my personal ISP access, and post this song (and maybe a few of my other works) there as well. If that works, it may also be a better place to see the lyrics as I intended them to be formatted -- here in Adobe Acrobat PDF file format, and here as an ordinary HTML file.

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Voting Results

Pacing: 5.0
How Funny: 5.0
Overall Rating: 5.0

Total Votes: 6

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   0
 2   0
 3   0
 4   0
 5   6

User Comments

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Invisible Boy - January 26, 2009 - Report this comment
This is well written so 5s for you.
You say I'm guessing...Ann Arbor?
Claude Prez - January 26, 2009 - Report this comment
This is fantastic. The whole thing is great but the "HMO Pinafore" and TV show theme lines stuck out for me.
TJC - January 26, 2009 - Report this comment
Lexelente, mi General!
Tommy Turtle - January 26, 2009 - Report this comment
Reassuring to know that the SG can tell an intestine from a piece of rope.... I too loved "HMO Pinafore". 555, but know that here we prefer choruses spelled out and *especially* varied, even if the original repeats (check out some of the other MG parodies here, but of course, not gonna plug mine.) And welcome to AIR!
John Jenkins - January 26, 2009 - Report this comment
What everybody else said. Plus kudos for the clever ways you get your points about "it's not what you know, it's who you know" accross.

Keep them coming, John!
Andria - January 27, 2009 - Report this comment
Great job with a very difficult (both for singing and parodying) OS, and I wouldn't make a good Surgeon General despite the fact that it's my favorite government position because I can't tell human organs from those of meat-producing animals that are occasionally found in ethnic grocery stores. 5s.
jalp - January 30, 2009 - Report this comment
Thanks to all for the kind words. ** A fair guess, Invisible Boy. (I hope it's all right to look at your comments.) But actually, my time living in Michigan has all been in Marshall -- basically where I-94 (the interstate linking Chicago and Detroit) meets I-69 (the one running between Lansing and Fort Wayne). But one of my two sisters graduated from U-M. The other one went to MSU, so I can sit back and just root for a good game. ** Tommy (are you any relation to Tudor?), sorry I didn't notice the pattern here. I'm used to seeing G & S lyrics with repeats indicated this way (other than between the staves on sheet music) -- so that's why I wrote the piece that way. But I'll try to think of extra alternatives for future works. ** Andria, as my last name may suggest, I have some Italian branches in my family tree -- and my dad always said his favorite meat was sausage. (Which is one of the things one is traditionally not supposed to want to see being made . . . legislation being the other, I think.) So I can sympathizewith you.

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