Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Allow me to introduce you to "The Legend of Bob the DERF" - Catchy title, I know. But if you know what a DERF is (psst - it's a Data Element Request Form - the thing that is used by NCPDP (The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs - an ANSI (American National Standards Institute - they create standards for SDOs (Standards Development Organizations - the groups that make standards for things like how many threads are there on a fire hydrant intake valve or how do you send an electronic prescription message)) accredited SDO based in Scottsdale, AZ) to change their standards), you'll think this song is big fun. Otherwise, if you've ever done standards development work, you'll think it's amusing. Otherwise, if you're a fan of country western music, you'll say, "It has a good beat and I can dance to it - I'll give it an 86." Otherwise, you'll probably just scratch your head.

Anyway, I wrote this song for the NCPDP's annual conference and performed it in Phoenix, AZ. It was a big hit. But then, we're an odd bunch of folks, so I'm not sure you kids'll be hearing it on American Bandstand anytime soon.

Special thanks to Lee Ann Stember, President of NCPDP, for financing the recording of this song. The lovely and talented Eric Schwartz is responsible for any production value, instrumentation and decent background vocals you may hear. Samples of his work can be found at CAUTION! Eric has a tendency to use his awesome creative powers for evil – or at least a sort of mischief that tends toward the perverse. Those with sensitive dispositions should refrain from visiting this site. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

One disclaimer: This song is a work of fiction. Any similarities of the characters portrayed in this recording to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Anyone who says otherwise is itchin’ fer a fight. (Got that Bob and Margaret?)
Download MP3

Way back a hunert years ago
In a desert land devoid of snow’
Fore Scottsdale started dottin’ any maps
Snake Oil Salesmen roamed the West
Pitchin’ potions from their treasure chests
And shaftin’ any sucker wearin’ chaps

There was one man who had a dream’
Bout raisin’ druggists’ self esteem
By protectin’ the apothecary’s turf
He saw that standards were the key
For improvin’ drugstore quality
That man was known by all as Bob the DERF

Now any tale worth bein’ told
Includes a woman, guns or gold
Our hero’s rival ponied up all three
Margaret was her given name
But winnin’ gunfights brought her fame
So the name “The Whacker” fit her to a tee
And ev’rytime The Whacker flashed her gold incisor in a grin
The undertaker knew he’d soon be callin’ next of kin

Hoo-ee ’n’ Yippee-ki-ee
Before the NCPDP
Consensus was a notion seldom found
Hoo-ah ’n’ Yippee-ki-yaw
The fastest shot laid down the law
The other laid down six feet underground

Now The Whacker had her standards too
And had in mind just what to do
To make sure things got done by her own rule
She called on Bob the DERF and said,
“You lily-livered pudd’nhead
It’s my way or the highway, ya’ dang fool!”

She knew her taunts would be enough
To razz him so he’d call her bluff
He slammed his whiskey down as if on cue
“Well we’ll just see ’bout who’ll be number one
High noon, tomorrow – bring your gun
But I’d skip town tonight if I was you!”

The bookies laid odds eight-to-five
The Whacker’d make it through alive
Her dead-eye aim was known throughout the land
It’s true that Margaret had her chance
But once they started in to dance
The DERF felt sure he’d be the last to stand
And so they set the stage to see whose standards would prevail
One slinger’d see sweet victory – and one the gates of Hell

The clock struck twelve – the wind was still
Too scared to see red rivers spill
And learn who’d bite the dust who’d survive
The two stepped out into the street
To face their fate at fifty feet
Then in a flash their pistols came alive

Bob the DERF’s resolve came through
His steady hand shot straight and true
A normal foe no doubt would have been dead
But one fact he failed to calculate –The Whacker stood at four-foot-eight
And so her Stetson flew clean off her head

The DERF’s luck went from bad to worse
Didn’t even have a chance to curse
As The Whacker’s dental work gleamed through her smile
Her single shot was on the mark
It pierced his heart – the sky went dark
Right there he fell into a bloody pile
And as he died, The Whacker cried, “Oh, help me, Lord above!
All in the name of standards, I’ve just killed my one true love!”

She lay her pistol down and swore upon her golden tooth
Consensus now will be pursued in healthcare’s quest for truth
“No longer will our blood be shed for standards to be set
We’ll gather round and talk until a compromise is met”
So now you know just how we formed the NCPDP

And how this modern standards settin’ process came to be
And after endless hours of meetings why my eyes will glaze
I’m dreamin’ ’bout how things got done back in those glory days when…


– © 2005 Ross D. Martin, MD, MHA