Segment aired June 6, 2015 as part of the “Dave’s Gone By” radio program hosted by Dave Lefkowitz.
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A young singer is becoming the toast of the Metropolitan Opera for her beauty, her acting ability, and especially, her vocal range. She’s a contralto but almost as comfortable in soprano roles—a lucky thing, since she’s just taken on a new opera that makes her hit the D over high C in almost every aria.
After the first performance, however, she feels queasy and suffers cramps. After the second show, she’s nearly doubled over. There’s a two-week break before her next performance, and she feels fine, so she chalks it up to nerves. But as soon as she makes her next appearance, she suffers terrible stomach pain.
The next morning, she hurries to the doctor who takes an x-ray and discovers all these worm-like creatures in her abdomen. He frowns, “I’m afraid you have parasitic eels.”
“What? Eels in my stomach?”
“Yes,” says the MD.
“But I felt fine the last two weeks. It’s only when I’ve been singing . . .”
“Exactly,” says the doctor. “They’re born from vocal strain. And as long as you’re in that opera hitting those high notes, they’ll keep coming back. We call it `Wendy Wasserstein Syndrome.’”
“Really?” says the singer. “Did she have it, too?”
“No, she just inspired it. Haven’t you ever heard of `The High D Chronic Eels?’”