The Sorrows of Young Werewolf (eyeteeth) wrote,
The Sorrows of Young Werewolf

Not many people know that this was the original inspiration for MythBusters

You remember how a while ago someone surfed into Small Peculiar on a search for eyeteeth the comic writer had a lobotomy? It occurred to me that this person might have the idea that the conversations I draw myself having with Walter had actually taken place. In an odd way this delighted me afresh, not just because it's hilarious, but because although he died before I was born I do sometimes get a strange sense that I know Walter rather intimately. In the afterword of his book Jack El-Hai thanks his family for having tolerated "Walter Freeman's unusual presence at the dinner table." Well, now he's hanging out in my apartment. His ghost gets around.

This book of his that I'm reading now, The Psychiatrist, is another thing that's oddly delightful to me in part because it's hilarious and in part because the hilarity comes from the revelation of Walter's personality on every page. See, The Psychiatrist is supposed to be about other people, but Walter can't help but talk about himself. At times the book reads like a tug of war between his knowledge of what he's supposed to be writing and his need to gratify his Satanically vast ego. Guess which wins?

Here is an excerpt. Now, before he got into lobotomy young Dr. Walter Freeman experimented with other means of getting the patient's own brain to leave him alone, as it were, the idea being that your highest cerebral functions sometimes get so inhibitory that you're tormented by them into complete catatonia. He wasn't the only one tinkering with this stuff. One doctor had some success with keeping patients really, really drunk for two weeks straight. Typically, Walter veers off from this guy to his own experiments:
I arranged to try the effects of low and high pressures in the pressure tank at the Navy Yard. Low pressure gave me a headache and mental dulling. Pressure of 45 pounds per square inch, equivalent to three atmospheres, brought about a hypomanic state in me, though my colleague, Dr. Karl Langenstrass, remained his usual solemn self (and later suffered a mild attack of the "bends"), while the only observable reaction in our catatonic patient was that he ate a sandwich instead of being tube-fed. We could not get him to speak.

Well, he tried to, Walter, but you kept interrupting him!
Tags:, walter freeman
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