Jun 272011
 

Here’s a little treat for those who enjoy the sillier side of my music.

“The Doctor Song” was composed many years ago and has often provoked laughter from unsuspecting audiences, but some have denied its existence since there was no recorded proof of it. Last weekend at a party for artists at a friend’s house I found myself in front of a keyboard with a crowd of people staring at me, so I decided to inflict the song on them.

Unbeknownst to me, someone transcoded it into the video you see before you. The sound quality isn’t the best; somebody decided to navigate a flying apparatus over the neighborhood in what was presumably an attempt to protect the listeners from the doctor’s prevaricating modernist philosophy. Nonetheless, you can now experience it for yourself in most of its glory. Enjoy.

Video link not working? It’s on YouTube here. The poem, by the way, is “Modern Medicine” by Strickland W. Gillilan.

​Addendum: ​Kimby brought up a good point that it would be easier to hear the words if you knew what they were, so, since they’re not in print anywhere I could find, here they are for your edification.

MODERN MEDICINE
(Strickland W. Gillilan, 1908)

I went to a modern doctor to learn what it was was wrong.
I’d lately been off my fodder, and life was no more a song.
He felt of my pulse as they all do, he gazed at my outstretched tongue;
He took off my coat and weskit and harked at each wheezing lung.
He fed me a small glass penstalk with figures upon the side,
And this was his final verdict when all of my marks he’d spied :

“Do you eat fried eggs? Then quit it.
You don’t? Then hurry and eat ’em,
Along with some hay that was cut in May
There are no other foods to beat ’em.
Do you walk? Then stop instanter
For exercise will not do
For people with whom it doesn’t agree
And this is the rule for you:

Just quit whatever you do do
And do whatever you don’t;
For what you don’t do may agree with you
As whatever you do do don’t.”

Yea, thus saith the modern doctor, “Tradition be double durned!
What the oldsters knew was nothing compared to the things we’ve learned.
There’s nothing in this or that thing that’s certain in every case
Any more than a single bonnet’s becoming to every face.
It’s all in the diagnosis that tells us the patient’s fix
The modern who knows his business is up to a host of tricks.

“Do you eat roast pork? Then stop it.
You don’t? Then get after it quickly.
For the donkey gives the laugh to grass
And delights in the weed that’s prickly.
Do you sleep with the windows open?
Then batten them good and tight
And swallow the same old fetid air
Through all of the snoozesome night.

“Just quit whatever you do do
And do whatever you don’t;
For what you don’t do may agree with you
As whatever you do do don’t.”

 

 

  • Eric, you are quite the showman and pianist! I couldn’t quite make out all the words, so I’ll have to look up the poem, but your arrangement was fun! And hear, hear for Yamaha keyboards. 🙂

    • Good thought, Kimby. I revised the post to add the poem, since apparently it’s kind of hard to find online. Thanks!