Saturday, January 14, 2006

Joe: January 8, 1943

Your appeal for pulse rate readings has appealed to the scientist in me.--stamps will not be accepted. You will understand that laboratory conditions are not ideal here at the Lordsburg Interment Camp so I will not be able to furnish exact figures on all the readings you need, Mary. However, here goes:
Sex: Male. (Thanks for placing me in the adult classification.)

Age: 29 years, 4 months, and 4 days--someone borrowed the latest issue of the astrology magazine
so I can’t verify this approximation. To find the exact number of hours and minutes up to this time (7:45 N.M. Mountain War Time) consult any astrology almanack for favorite time at which geniuses are born (I know the plural is genii but I don’t want you to receive the wrong impression.)

Pulse rate: All the following figures are at 15 second intervals.
1. Before meals: Too great a variation--the only meal that is worthy of being called a meal is breakfast and it’s too dark at seven o clock in the morning to take my pulse before breakfast. Since we’ve had stew for supper for the last seven days--stew consisting of everything left over from dinner all mixed together--any pulse reading before and after supper would be utterly unreliable: the before reading would merely show anticipated revulsion and the after one show you I’m tired of eating bread and apple butter for supper. Naturally this leaves dinner. However, I’m getting used to the dinners by this time and I’m afraid that if I observe scientifically any physiological reactions, it will disturb my digestion of the midday repast.
2. After meals: See remarks under “Before meals”.
3. Reclining: 18
4. Sitting: 17.
4a. Sitting but reading one letter from a certain individual who (as in all scientific treatises) will be nameless; besides I don’t want to make you overconfident regarding your literary prowess, Mary: 20.
5. Standing: 19.
6. After 1/2 min. of exercise: Well ignorance is a poor excuse for your snide remark about 1/2 minute exercise, but I accept it this time. I’ll have you understand, Physiologist Nolan, that even when I brush my teeth I undergo five minutes of very vigorous calisthenics. Since our formal calisthenics in the morning takes up a full half hour I’m afraid that this reading will be impossible to obtain. Besides it takes me more than half a minute to count my pulse beats for 1 seconds.
7. After a hot bath: Are you kidding? After a hot shower Pvt. Koch turns off the hot water and a forceful pray of icy cold water immediately cascades upon his manly physique. It takes a bettter man than me to count his heart beats under a cold shower--how do I know my watch is really waterproof; the jeweler didn’t say positively?

Please understand, Mary, that if I were using my own writing paper or even the U.S.O. letterhead, I wouldn’t clutter it up with tripe like the above. Insamuch as you own the prioroities and export licenses on this paper, Mary Nolan Inc., I suppose you can demand what you will....

This going to bed at nine o clock is getting me down especially on Friday nights, so last night I stayed awake in bed for over an hour philosophizing and poor you will have to bear the brunt of it. What started my mind gyrating was a jingle of Gertrude Stein’s which of course I don’t remember word for word--no one does--which goes something like this:
Jack and Jill went up the hill
Jack is Jack even though Jack is Jill, he’d still be Jack.
Somewhere in one of my philosophy courses I remember that the question of personality was brought up: “Why am I, I?” or “why are you, you?” I am not indulging in double talk. Well this was the starting point: I can’t remember any changes in myself since I graduated from grammar school--maybe beacuse I received a medical for general excellence at that time, I decided that I couldn’t be improved--even back in Jan. 1927 I was a pessimist. I wonder though, if my (illegible) had taken me out to the woods then, would I have recognized one Mary Nolan who was just then starting kindergarten? I doubt it for the twins were slightly less than four years old and Agnes was just about six so I looked upon all the younger fry as a great annoyance--especially the talkative ones. But I must have changed: now, when my thoughts turn to one youngster (of Gresheimer--classification of those who are neither children nor adults) the gleam in my eyes is definitely not one of annoyance; just for your information, mary, it’s one of longing--

I seemed to have wandered off track back in the previous paragraph--just shows I haven’t a one track mind. What I’m trying to get at is the fact that we do not recognize the process of evolution taking place within ourselved. We can look back at ourselves from the present time and recollect what we once were but we can’t point out any turning point. Probably growing older is a continuous process of accretion--we never lose ourselves, but just keep adding more thoughts, more emotions , and I trust more wisdom, not to mention such mundane things as(illegible), bad habits, etx. I’m not including you in the last category, but I already feel as if I knew you always, Mary. Yet I can remember a certain Sunday just one day less than twenty weks ago when I first met the Wisdom Alumnae Trio--well I was always warned that canoeing was a dangerous sport.

I promise you Mary, that in the future I’ll leave philosophy to the philosophers. How are the other Nolans--they can’t be in perfect condition if they let you cheat at Pick-Up-Sticks. I know that game and I also know that anyone that wins all the time does it by a crooked flip of the wrist as they let the sticks go....

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