"I liked that story in El-Hai's biography about your father taking you to work with him when you were little and how he caught you licking the autopsy table." No, no, that doesn't sound right either.
I really ought to send a nice letter to Walter III -- of our Walter's surviving children he seems like the likeliest candidate, because he's already something of a public figure himself, so he must get e-mail from strangers all the time, and because he's an academic, so he must get requests for help with research. (It's merely a delightful coincidence that he's the one with the same name.) But I'm afraid he'll see my work and be appalled. How dare I turn someone's father into half of a neurology vaudeville act? I wouldn't like it if someone did that to my father, but my father is not inherently theatrical in the same way that Walter II was. (Only David Shutts calls him Junior, and it looks very odd on the page.) I am trying to get at something real, honestly. But there's so much there, and some of it is very sad, and some of it makes me think, and some of it is just funny. The one thing it all has in common is that it's all big. Walter J. Freeman II was big, he had a big life. Sometimes, to render him, I feel I have to be absurd. But I am also trying to be fair.