The Data Doctor: Come in, come in. Take a seat. How are we today?
Patient: Fine doctor. Thanks.
The Data Doctor: Well now, if you were fine you wouldn’t be here would you? Ha ha ha… do you get me?
Patient(NERVOUS LAUGH): No, no, I suppose not. Very true. Ha.
The Data Doctor: Now, let’s have a look at your file. My goodness it’s been ages since you were here last. Back then you had a little ..uh.. ‘mail-merge’ problem. How has that been since?
Patient: Well, er, it was fine for a while, you know but…
The Data Doctor: You’re not telling me you discontinued the treatment? Dear oh dear. I thought we were quite explicit about the consequences of shoddy data management.
Patient(SHEEPISH): Yes, but, it was quite time consuming and.. and..we were pretty confident everything was ok and .. I suppose we .. we.. just stopped.
The Data Doctor: Hmmm. Well I suppose we better have a look. Pop up on the bed there and take down your firewall so that I can gain access. Now let’s have a look… Oh my God!
Patient (PANICKY): What is it Doc?? Tell me. Tell me.
The Data Doctor (GRAVELY): I won’t lie to you, it’s not good. Here in the ‘Title’ field you have a bunch of ‘Mr.’s for records that are clearly female. ‘Mr. Mary Smith’? Really? And here, in this set, instead of Postcodes someone has keyed in … telephone numbers?? Dear God.
Patient: How long have I got Doc?
The Data Doctor: Now now. Don’t lose the run of yourself. This is where we come in. We can tidy this right up.
Patient: You can? Oh great, the others will be so relieved.
The Data Doctor: Others?
Patient: Well, we set up a number of subsidiaries and they-
The Data Doctor: – they’ve been using the same data??  But, of course, they have been updating their own version and propagating further mutations. Tut! Tut! Data promiscuity. It’s the modern business curse.
Patient: But it’s… it’s… fixable, yes?
The Data Doctor: There there. The doctor will take care of everything. Painlessly. Now, just bend over.
Patient: Wha-??
The Data Doctor: Oops, sorry. Forgot what sort of doctor I was for a second there. Silly me. We’ll start the cleanup tomorrow but today you have to make some calls to your …err… ‘subsidiaries’ and tell them just exactly what you have given them.
Patient: Really? I have to tell them? But I-
The Data Doctor: It’s the responsible thing. You know it. And next time…… use protection!