16 March 1987

Hey, there, Udo!–

For plain, downright fun, you are way ahead of me. Your experience with the airlines, the weather and laryngitis is something I can’t hope to match.

But, that’s what vacations are all about, aren’t they? Lots of relaxation and good times. Especially in California.

I guess the last you heard was how we were visiting my wife’s sister and some friends when your letter arrived. Anyhow, after we got back we were involved with craftsmen who put new concrete in our drive, where tree roots had heaved up the pavement six inches and left us pen to lawsuits from door-to-door solicitors who might trip and break their collarbones. The job took something like five or six days. Jackhammers, transit-mix trucks, lots of shouting and arm-waving.

Then I got sick. I still can’t figure out what it was, but the symptoms were a combination of food poisoning and sleeping sickness. For about a week I slept 22 hours a day, and got up to sip chicken soup and clean my teeth. I couldn’t get any energy no matter how long I slept. The second week the symptoms began to abate. Now I’m O. K. Whatever it was, I’ll never know. I like to sleep with I want to be lazy, but not like that. It was like being anesthetized.

I hope that was my ration of fun for 1987.

But wait! This month I have an annual visit to the dentist, a visit to the plastic surgeon who remove the cancer from the side of m nose, a visit to the internist who is monitoring the reduction in the three kinds of medication I take for my thyroid problem, and a visit to the ophthalmologist for a new prescription for my glasses (since retiring my eyes have gotten stronger, so my present glasses only make things visually worse). I also need a haircut.

I defy you to match such tribulations.

Press on with your program to keep Amercian science pre-eminent through buffer solutions. The last time I was in Norway your name was being mentioned for Nobel consideration. So be ready if the phone rings. It might be a good idea if you had a haircut, too.

Regards to Thomas and Anne (and your barber).

Fred C. (“Just The Rides…”) Dobbs

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