The Lumberjack Song…for scientists

Monty_Python,_The_Lumberjack_Song.png

Professor: You know, I never wanted to be a head of department.

Lab members appear, wearing white coats and carrying micropipettes.  

Postdoc: Really?

Professor: I only ever wanted to be…a biochemist! Leaping from bay to bay! Floating over the centrifuges as they separate rivers of supernatant. The Eppendorf 5810-R, the Sartorius Centrisart G16, the majestic Sorvall WX ultracentrifuge, the mighty Beckman Coulter Optima MAX-TL. The smell of fresh-dissected rat livers! The crash of breaking glassware! With my labmates by my side. We’d sing, sing, sing!

To the tune of Monty Python’s “Lumberjack song”:

Professor:
I’m a scientist and I’m ok,
I work in the lab all night and day.

Lab members:
He’s a scientist and he’s ok,
He works in the lab all night and day!

Professor:
I grind up cells, I spin them down, I do biochemistry.
Reconstitute in vitro, that’s my philosophy!

Lab members:
He grinds up cells, he spins them down, he does biochemistry.
Reconstitute in vitro, that’s his philosophy!

He’s a scientist and he’s ok,
He works in the lab all night and day!

Professor:
I grind up cells, I write up grants, I wield increasing power;
I dress in business clothing, and have meetings for hours!

Lab members:
He grinds up cells, he writes up grants, he wields increasing power;
He puts on business clothing…and has meetings for hours???

(pause, then brightly again)

He’s a scientist and he’s ok,
He works in the lab all night and day!

Professor:
I wear a suit, a shirt and tie, I chair committees now;
I wish I still did benchwork, but I’ve forgotten how!

Lab members:
He wears a suit…tie…committees?

Professor: (grasping a micropipette upside-down)
Now, how do you hold one of these things again?

 

A note on context: This was originally performed as part of a short satirical play to mark the retirement of Professor Graham Warren as Scientific Director of the Max F. Perutz Laboratories in Vienna, Austria (hence the reference to rat liver Golgi preparations). The original line was “You know, I never wanted to be a director”, but the sentiment is the same. Administrative burdens often remove senior scientists from their labs in a day-to-day context.

2 thoughts on “The Lumberjack Song…for scientists

  1. I used to keep a Norwegian Blue Parrot called Michael Palin when I was a lumberjack. It used to talk to me about the fiords when I went to the lavatory. I think Monty Python heard about this and it inspired them to write their sketch. Now everybody thinks I’m mad – but I know the truth! I also wish to make it clear that I do not wear women’s clothing when I hang out in bars. And the last time a man buttered my scones I didn’t enjoy it all.

    Like

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