I've written a self-referential Major-Gen'ral parody

By Debbie Pickett

To the tune of "I am the very model of a modern Major-General" by Gilbert and Sullivan.

If you haven't heard Tom Lehrer sing 103 chemical elements to this tune you haven't lived.


I've written a self-referential Major-Gen'ral parody,
To certain other songs it bears a striking similarity;
Before you go complaining that it sounds like ev'ry other one:
It barely was original when Gilbert wrote for Sullivan.
Though many other versions will indubitably share a note,
It doesn't list the elements, unlike the one Tom Lehrer wrote;
Indeed, this song is suited rather less to operetta than
A segment shown on Denton or on Carson or on Letterman.

(A segment shown on Denton or on Carson or on Letterman,
A segment shown on Denton or on Carson or on Letterman,
A segment shown on Denton or on Carson or on Letterletterman.)

In fact it's element'ry since the solit'ry parameter
Is, "write six rhyming couplets in a quick hexadecameter,"
And though it's unpronounceable, it shows with some hilarity
I've written a self-referential Major-Gen'ral parody.

Throughout the current century have people written numerous
Reworkings that attempt to be particularly humorous;
Regardless, some remain containing ever such a sloppy sight
As stealing lines verbatim 'cause the author's out of copyright.
Observe the total time we spend dethroning the definitive,
Consulting rhyming lexicons enormous and diminutive
For messages satirical, empirical, political;
Whatever you conclude this effort's purely hypocritical.

(Whatever you conclude this effort's purely hypocritical,
Whatever you conclude this effort's purely hypocritical,
Whatever you conclude this effort's purely hypocriticritical.)

In all of God's creation nothing's quite so overkillable
As G&S's patter song in lines of sixteen syllables,
And so in my conclusion I'll reiterate for clarity
I've written a self-referential Major-Gen'ral parody.

© 1997 Debbie Pickett