The ceremony marking the inauguration of Karen Nichols as the 114th president and first female leader of the 42,000-member American Osteopathic Association was a little different from such banquets, thanks mostly to the fact that Nichols has a comedian for a nephew, Dave Thurston, and he served as emcee for the proceedings.
A veteran of Chicago's Second City comedy troupe, Thurston recruited some of his friends to help introduce Nichols. So, instead of a droning recitation of her awards and achievements, these were sung to the tune of a disco favorite and a country classic.
The Gloria Gaynor disco-era staple “I Will Survive” was reworked as “Karen Will Thrive” and contained these lyrics:
She was just a little girl when she got her first M.A., now—35 years later—she heads AOA,
Oh well, did you know? She is super-well-respected in the field of osteo.
For decade after decade, her star's been on the rise, but—when you think about it—there's really no surprise.
Karen will thrive, oh as long as there are people who need help to stay alive.
Yes, for all who want to live, she's got expertise to give.
Karen will thrive
And then, to switch things up, “I've Been Everywhere,” sung by many artists including Johnny Cash, was changed to “She's Been Every Chair”:
She's been every chair, man; memberships to spare, man; lots of hats to wear, man; In terms of internal medicine, she's been everywhere.
She's been a vice chair, co-chair, head chair and a fellow, trustee.
Trust me, she's superswell, a certified, bona fide, true and tried.
Put her heart in and had a lot of dean's chairs—more than Mr. Martin.
Taught a lot, learned a lot, wrote a lot, which is to say
It takes a couple dozen trees just to print her resume.
Thurston told the audience that, if Nichols is half as good at being the AOA president as being an aunt, they could all look forward to getting cards with $40 inside at Christmas and on their birthdays. Outliers won't comment on the comedic value Thurston and friends brought to the proceedings, however, we will say, if “I Will Survive” doesn't stop playing inside our heads, we might be forced to sue someone.