the "no good Perl jobs"/"no good Perl programmers" myth

muppet scott at
Sun Aug 6 18:19:54 BST 2006

On Aug 6, 2006, at 10:01 AM, Paul Makepeace wrote:

> On 8/6/06, Dirk Koopman <djk at> wrote:
>> On Sun, 2006-08-06 at 09:10 -0400, Uri Guttman wrote:
>> > are you a real doctor or do you just play one on :)
>> Are you still trying to recruit people? 'Cos, if you are, I  
>> suggest you
>> cast around for the materials to build a ladder to get yourself  
>> out of
>> the chasm that that remark has created - with you in the bottom.
> I took the question to mean, are you a medical doctor or a PhD in
> $non_medical_subject.

Additionally, it is an oblique reference to a series of 80's Merkin  
TV advertisements which featured the actor who played a doctor in a  
soap opera shilling some analgesic or something.  His opening line  
was, "I'm not a doctor, but i play one on TV," from which point he  
went on to extol the virtues of whatever product it was.  This phrase  
was so assinine that it worked its way into popular culture (a la  
"Where's the beef?") and many people who use it don't even know where  
it originated.

I guess i should've googled first:'m+not+a+doctor+but+i+play+one+on 


> This line was used in Vick's cough syrup TV commercials during the  
> 1980s. Peter Bergman, who played a doctor on "The Young and the  
> Restless," first uttered the phrase. Legend has it that federal  
> regulators decided that having a TV doctor in the commercials was  
> perceived by the public as a real doctor endorsing the product,  
> thus the famous line was born.

I think it worked on the Wiley Coyote model of project management - if
at any point you looked down and realised what you were doing was
impossible then you'd instantly fail.
   -- Simon Wistow

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