What Would it Be Like if Pain Patients Sang From ‘West Side Story'?

By Josh Bloom — Nov 14, 2020
In a recent interview, Andrew Kolodny maintained that pain patients don't hate him. Some would disagree. What would it look like if they sang their displeasure rather than voiced it? With apologies to Leonard Bernstein.
Image: Wikipedia Commons

I may be a musician but that doesn't mean that all genres are my cup of tea. While I'll pay a ridiculous amount of money to go hear Rachmaninoff's second, it usually takes tow chains to drag me to a Broadway musical. However, there are exceptions. One of them is West Side Story, an unmatched masterpiece with music by the brilliant Leonard Bernstein (1).

One of the numbers, 'Gee, Officer Krupke,' is a lot of fun.

What could this possibly have to do with pain patients?

Well, in a recent Zoom interview with The Justice, the newspaper of Brandeis University, "America's Psychiatrist" Dr. Andrew Kolodny (2) had this to say in response to a "Don't Punish Pain" group's rally to have him fired:

“The individual that all of these people have all of this hatred toward is a fictional individual who may have my name and likeness but … it’s not me that they hate."

A. Kolodny, October 27, 2020

There are some who would challenge that opinion. Perhaps more than a few. What would happen if instead of yelling at Kolodny, they tried singing? Maybe something from West Side Story. It would sound a bit like this (if you don't know the music it's in the link above).

Gee, Doctor Kolodny (Sung to the tune of "Gee, Officer Krupke") 


Gee, Doctor Kolodny

You don't understand

Your nearly empty head

Is buried deep in the sand

You say we're all junkies

But you haven't a clue

Golly Moses, no wonder we hate you!


Gee, Doctor Kolodny we're very upset;

We're sucking on a Tic Tac when we need Percocet

We ain't only druggies

We're really in pain

Get that into your tiny brain!



We're in pain, we're in pain!

But you're so insane

That you can't believe that we're in pain!


We're treated like garbage

Our docs are in jail

The drugs that we're all taking

Are predestined to fail

To even get something

to help us get up

We have to pee into a cup!



In a cup, in a cup

That is so f#####d up!

But we have to pee into a cup!


Gee, Doctor Kolodny

We're down on our knees

'Cause no one wants an addict with a mental disease

Gee, Dr. Kolodny

What are we to do?

Gee, Dr. Kolodny

PROP you!


(1) The original lyrics were written by Stephen Sondheim who is no slouch himself. 

(2) Kolodny is the Medical Director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis.

Josh Bloom

Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science

Dr. Josh Bloom, the Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, comes from the world of drug discovery, where he did research for more than 20 years. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry.

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