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/ GOT TO KANSAS CITY ON A THURSDAY, BY FRIDAY . . . ELI M. BOWER* I was lying at the bottom of a deep well in a crib slotted with iron bars. I sensed a circle of faces looking down on me. Was this a dream or was I awake? Among the faces I recognized was my wife's; she reached down to touch my forehead. As I struggled to raise my head I became painfully aware that I still had my pipe in my mouth. It struck me as odd that I should have my pipe in my mouth. I have never smoked in bed. Now my mouth was clenched around the pipe and my throat was burning. I tried to move my hand to remove the pipe but couldn't. It dawned on me that this was no dream. I was awake. A pipe was in my mouth that I could not remove. My hands were tied to the bed. I made an effort to spit the pipe out of my mouth but it wouldn't go. My eyes caught my wife's. I pleaded with her in precise syllabic enumerations , "Take my damn pipe out of my mouth." She squeezed my hand at the side of the bed and shook her head. "I don't want to smoke," I told her. The pipe felt like a hot iron all the way down my throat. I looked around for anyone else who might help. No one. As a last resort I decided to eat the pipe. I started biting down on it in an attempt to masticate it. My wife shook her head. "You must not do that," she indicated verbally. I bit, I snorted, I struggled—all to no avail. I now realized that I was tied down to the bed—hands, feet, and chest—drawn and quartered, as it were—with a pipe in my mouth that I could not remove. I left Berkeley Thursday morning to catch a plane to Kansas City. I had promised to speak to and with the folks of the Midwest Symposium on Behaviorally Disordered Children and Youth, headquartered at the Hyatt-Regency Hotel. Reservations had been made for me and I confirmed in my AAA guidebook that the hotel had an indoor swimming pool and tennis courts to boot. I had packed my swim trunks but ?Professor Emeritus, Educational Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720.© 1988 by The University of Chicago. AU rights reserved. 003 1-5982/88/3 103-0580$01 .00 Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 31, 3 ¦ Spring 1988 | 381 vetoed the tennis since I was only going to be there 2 days. I had been swimming the day before and had done a few laps of breast strokes. I noticed as I left home a slight pain over my sternum—perhaps a muscle pull from yesterday's swimming. I had expected the Bay Bridge traffic to be thinned out by the time I left at 9:30 a.m., but it wasn't to be. I inched my way along to the toll plaza, paid the 75# toll, and continued to inch along to the metering lights. I rushed away from the metering lights to get on to the bridge where I again got in line for the bumper-to-bumper ritual. By this time my chest pain was gaining sway over my traffic frustrations. I had just finished a physical with good results in such things as cholesterol, lipids, and so on. There didn't seem to be any pain in my arms. I concentrated on driving 2Vz mph for the next 40 minutes. Along the way I conceptualized my chest pains as something that would go away. By the time I got to the parking area, it was "race to the gate" time. Ego and commitment won over good sense. I spent the next 3 hours in an enclosed cabin with the growing realization that what couldn't happen to me—a walker, swimmer, tennis player, and so forth—was happening. If I were on a train I would have pulled the emergency chain and got off. I looked down—we were over Lake Tahoe and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 381-390
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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