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A second - [and fourth-] year sampler

Yale Medicine Magazine, 1999 - Summer


Over the past 50 years, student productions have parodied every facet of medical school life, from the ever-present food vendors on Cedar Street to the peccadilloes of the financial aid office. Always in the crosshairs are faculty members and the Yale System. Faculty targets have included John P. Peters, Averill Liebow, Milton Winternitz, Howard Levitin and, in recent years, Robert Gifford, Nancy Angoff, David Kessler, Angela Holder, Arthur Crovatto, Margretta Seashore and Frank Bia.

Always Frank Bia, it seems. What did he do?

In fact, Bia actively encourages the students to mock him. “I would feel left out if they didn’t,” he said. “I make it very clear to medical students that one of their major obligations is to put on a good show.” And they oblige, often with the most biting wit.

Among the highlights of past years’ shows are the tidbits that follow.


Four Years for What Follies
[Fourth Year]

“How Many Liters, Dr. Peters?” made fun of the tendency of John P. Peters, M.D., to speak in a very low voice. The show opened to an overture, “We’re Doctors Out of Yale.” Skits included “Continental Bow-Wows” and “Super-Duper Rounds.”


Not As a Doctor
[Fourth Year]

These lyrics, sung by John Cole, Jack Gariepy and Ed Ransenhofer to music borrowed from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, lampooned Averill Liebow, M.D., a pathologist noted for his demands on students. (CPC stands for clinical pathology conference.)

If you want to know what this is,
it’s a medical CPC
Where we give the house staff
the biz, for there’s no one so
wise as we!
We pathologists show them how,
Although it is too late now.
Our art is a sacred cow!

And, poking fun at the Yale System, to the tune of “Fugue for Tinhorns” from Guys and Dolls:

You needn’t take exams.
You never have to cram.
About the boards, you see,
we don’t give a damn.
You fail —
The tale
Will stay quiet here at Yale.

The Class of 1954 also made fun of Dr. Peters’ speaking manner to the tune of the chorus of “Oh, Susanna.”

J.P. Peters,
We greeted him with cheers.
But he whispered sweet
nothings in
Our eager, upturned ears.

Crovatto appeared in his class show not as a doctor, but as a nurse. Student shows have made him a regular target, most recently in 1998’s The Rx Files.


Title unfit for publication
[Fourth Year]

The Class of 1959 struggled to find lyrics from their fourth-year show, featuring Nicholas Passarelli and John Marsh, that might be suitable for publication. “Failing at the task,” Marc Schwartz wrote in a memo to Yale Medicine, “and unwilling to risk disqualifying the medical school from any grants it might receive from funding organizations overseen by Congress, we regretfully decline your invitation.”


The Senior Show
[Fourth Year]

Set to the music of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” these lyrics poked fun at Paul Beeson, then the chairman of medicine, who was rumored never to use his first name.

Attila was not called Mr. Hun.
I don’t think that was done
In the year 453.
So, fellows when you call me
Just take a chance and
Paul me.
I’ll make it worth your while.


How to Succeed in Medicine Without Really Trying
[Second Year]

This class stressed scholarly pursuits and their second-year show included a scene of runners sprinting to overcome the hurdle of the medical boards.


Guaiac Positive
[Second Year]

The Class of 1972 also poked fun at the Yale System with this song to the tune of “There Is Nothing Like a Dame,” from South Pacific.

When we first considered Yale,
We were anxious all to come.
They had something new to offer
Called the New Curriculum.
It was novel and heroic
To put Yale back on the map.
But what did we get?
The same old CRAP!!!

We have tennis matches Monday.
We spend Tuesday at the track.
We have mixers with the nurses
And we wind up in the rack.
Every Thursday on the
golf course,
Every Friday at the pub—
That’s why it’s called
The Country Club!!!


Waiting for Fallot
[Second Year]

In 16 skits, the Class of 1980 targeted classmates whose parents were on the faculty, student recruiting practices and the “new” curriculum. The title refers to tetralogy of Fallot, a common form of congenital heart disease.


Minimally Competent
[Second Year]

The Class of 1991 mocked the faculty in “Yalehouse Rock,” to the tune of the Elvis Presley standard:

Bill Stewart was bangin’ on the
ol’ leg bone.
Ed Crelin’s blowin’ on
his microphone.
Anatomy is dancin’ —
Barber says it don’t matter.
If you can’t find a partner,
use a cadaver.
Let’s rock. Everybody, let’s rock.
Everybody in the whole
Cedar block
Was dancin’ to the
Yalehouse Rock.

To the tune of The Who’s “Pinball Wizard”:

Ever since I was in med school,
afraid to be on call,
Examining the organs,
I really had a ball.
Eyeing all the patients,
I’d wait for them to fall.
That young path professor
sure seems to know it all.
He’s a path lab wizard,
Naming that disease.
He’s a path lab wizard,
He does it with such ease.
How do you think he does it?
I don’t know.
What makes him so cool?

To the tune of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”:

In the rectum, the itchy rectum,
The pinworm crawls tonight.
In the bedsheets, the
fertile bedsheets,
The pinworm breeds tonight.
CHORUS: Itchy anus, itchy anus,
itchy anus, itchy anus.

Drop your skivvies, here comes
the Scotch tape,
We’ll diagnose it right.
Watch out pinworm, you
vile pinworm,
Frank Bia’s on his way.
CHORUS: He’s on his way. He’s
on his way. He’s on his way.
He’s on his way.


The Rx Files
[Second Year]

The Class of 2000 borrowed the music from “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” to lampoon the food vendors on Cedar Street.

Bean curd make your
mouth a-water?
You get two pieces for a quarter.
No Greasy, No Oily.
The Yaki Soba on my right,
Eat it, you get a parasite.
No Greasy, No Oily

They also mocked Dean Kessler, newly arrived at Yale after seven years as head of the Food and Drug Administration. They sang “FDA Dropout” to the tune of “Beauty School Dropout” from Grease.

Your story’s too long to tell,
a premed done too well.
You took on the delinquents in D.C.
Your future’s very clear now,
you’ve got a med career now.
We’re gonna help you make the
world smoke-free.

Kessler took it in good humor and even appeared in the show, imitating Irish preener Michael Flatley in a number titled “Deans of the Dance.”