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Fama Semper Vivat

Circling the Square

By Dean Neigh

Newsmakers in this country invariably run the risk of having their names recorded in the address books of persons whose hobby is writing letters to famous people. When an astronaut orbits the earth, he is certain to get at least one letter of congratulation from a Southern California snake worshipper who points out in passing the joys of praying to reptiles. When a politician sues a newspaper for slander, he is equally certain to get at least one flowery note from a little old librarian who sympathizes completely because she has been swindled out of ten million dollars by the secret agents of that newspaper. And, it seems, when a Harvard professor wins the Nobel Prize, he, too, must expect the worst.

J. D. Watson has already received a letter of advice on how to cure his cold ("by putting pressure on key zones of the feet") and a request for a recipe for cupcakes made from algae. In addition, he has gotten the following masterworks:

1. From a man in Oregon, addressed to "The Honored Doctor of Biophysics."

Dear Doctor:

I have been reading about your and your associates DNA, and also about the Thalidomide as reported in Readers Digest, October, 1962, and in the digestion of these articles it came to me that in the process of DNA, in the embryo stage, could it be that this potent medicine could be the direct cause for the molecular reaction, DNA, to, or part thereof to be tranquilized and in this manner the DNA could not get the report through to the molecules responsible for the growth of the extremities of the fetus. In other words, could it be possible that Thalidomide could be directly responsible for the molecular reaction to revert back to the beginning of man (evolution) or the beginning of life itself known to this earth. If we came originally from sea life and transcended to the parts of the earth (dry land) on which we now live, could it not be that the flipper-like growths that resemble seal flippers could be molecular reaction returning to the original form of life or life where fins and flippers were used for propulsion?

Thalidomide may have properties in it that divert the usual scheme or flow of messages as in DNA and thusly prevents the overall or complete processing of the incubation of the ovule or the exact and proper creation of the embryo.

This devastating part of Thalidomide to mankind may be something that science the world over has been searching for to further prove the success in the development of man.

As I see it, Thalidomide, if taken long and strong enough could revert man back to the amphibian stage.

I congratulate you and your associates on your newly found fame and fortune, may you live and enjoy it for a hundred years or more. It truly is another important step in the progress of man.

Fama semper vivat

2. From a lawyer in Florida.

Dear Sir:

Please find enclosed a copy of my letter to Prime Minister Macmillan. You have my congratulations for winning the Nobel Prize.

More than half a century ago I came to the following conclusions:

(1) That heredity is the controlling factor in the field of human behavior.

(2) That the cousin marriage is cause of all the great evils that have afflicted mankind down through the ages.

(3)That the offspring of the cousin marriage is prone to be quarrelsome and warlike.

If you see merit in my plan for world peace, I wish you would give it to your associates and the Press.

3. From a man in New Mexico

Dear Dr. Watson:

Congratulations on your Nobel Prize.

I could not help noticing your remark about the common cold. It does seem odd that so little has been done about this everyday but exasperating ailment.

Strange to say, something already has been done about the common cold. The solution to the problem is already at hand. The trouble is that it is not the solution that most of us have had in mind.

The common cold is largely a man-made disease. To speak more precisely, it occurs only under conditions which man himself has created. I discovered this by accident as it were. During 1948 and 1949 I lived out at camps in the forest near Flagstaff, Arizona, and worked for the U.S. Forest Service. I worked outdoors nearly all the time. During this time, a period of about ten months, I did not have a single cold even though I was exposed to some pretty rough weather. I had the feeling that I was observing something unusual and significant. What I had done was to rediscover a method of climate modification which had been worked out by my ancestors long ago, and then lost. But the method has not been lost at all in the ancestral home, Scotland.

If you are interested, sometime you might read the novels of Sir John Buchan, particularly The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Macnab, or Huntingtower. Notice something. The characters never have any colds. Not Sir Edward Leithen, nor Sir Archibald Roylance, nor Mr. McCunn (the middle-aged wholesale grocer from Glasgow), nor Fish Benjie, nor Mrs. Morran, nor any of the barefoot boys from Glasgow who sing Communist songs to the old Scots tunes. These novels were written in the not so dim and distant 20's. The characters were out in the weather a great deal. Some of the days were beautiful, but most of the time it was cold, or foggy, or raining. But nobody ever has a sniffle in these adventures.

If you are interested in further details and discussions, please let me know. My ideas concerning climate modification are thoroughly unconventional, but they are quite sound, I believe.

4. From two famous political figures. Teddy Kennedy sent a letter, and Governor Volpe wrote:

Dear Doctor Watson:

I would like to convey my sincere congratulations for being named a Nobel laureate for your work in biology.

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