17 Oct 1986

Hey, there, Udo!–

MEDICAL UPDATE: John enter the hospital Wednesday night (15 Oct), and was to have the cataract operation on his left eye yesterday morning. (The last time, you will recall, he was was about to be rolled into the operating room when one of the doctors told the others that he had some congestion in his lungs. That was cured with antibiotics, so it should have happened this time.) He was scheduled to come home this morning (Friday). It is now 9:00 a.m. here, which is 10:00 a.m. there. Checkout time at most hospitals these days seems to be 11:00 a.m.

Anyhow, he said he would telephone to report his condition as soon as he got home. He still has one usable eye. First he has to stop his can to pick up his cat at the cat motel where he boards it. I will report to you any unusual medical conditions that he describes, to prevent all of Greenwich Village from going on false alert because of unfounded rumors. In the meantime, send no money.

PUERTO RICO ENVY: All right. I won’t be envious of your trips to Puerto Rico as long as you say I shouldn’t. On top of that, your description is enough to give me pause. On the other hand (as all economists say, although I don’t want to be mistaken for an economist), it’s nice to know that your company is able to profit from its activities in P.R. I have the impression that they are mostly your activities.

ADDITIONAL MEDICAL UPDATE: Mary has recovered pretty well from the appendectomy, and is now seeing only the family doctor. The surgeon saw her once and said she did not need to return. The family doctor is pleased with her progress. So are we. We want no more medical surprises. The Sacramento medical community has been alerted to our position on this. They were warned to pull up their socks, sterilize all instruments, and park only in designated areas. No more surgical nonsense like the last time. To show that we hold no grudges, however, they are permitted to paste a sign that reads “DOCTOR ON BOARD” on the rear windows of their Jaguars.

COMPUTERIZATION: For a long time I have been getting ready to buy a home computer, which I will of course use principally as a word processor. I used a Hewlett-Packard in my work before I retired, but I don’t need all that compatibility. The purchase date is closing in. It will be IBM-compatible because my son-in-law is writing a program for the administration of medical offices, which he hopes to sell for millions. He wants me to write the instruction manual, so my computer has to be compatible with his. When I get my share of the royalties, I will be able to buy a Jaguar and put a sign reading “FRED ON BOARD” in the rear window. (SEE ALSO LATEST “FRED” NEWS ENCLOSED.)

NAMES FROM THE PAST: I recognize names of some of those you have seen since leaving The Forbidden City, but I don’t know any of them personally, except one: Levinson. And I don’t really know him very well. He was a friend of Art Gurney’s, which is how I met him in the first place. Also recognize, but don’t know: Arthur Covert, Morris Kolodny, Seymour Calvert, Vladimir Valetic, and of course the ever-popular Seymor Katkoff. Don’t recognize the names Joe Rantfl or Marvin Kratzer. Do recognize the name Ed Haluska. Ray Powell’s campaign for governor is very puzzling. His “debates” with his opponent are fizzles because the two of them seem to agree on everything. They part company on how they would run the state. Ray would run it like “a businessman.” His opponent would promote “growth.” Ray counters that he would promote “growth” too. These are clearly not heated exchanges. (I read this stuff in the Sunday edition of The New Mexican, which we take.) It’s not too late for you to take up residence on Canyon Road and cast a ballot. on the other hand (there’s that economist buzzphrase again), you probably prefer to vote for Bella Abzug.

MONARCHISM: I’m glad you realize that nuclear power is popular with the Queen. Another giant step toward restoration of the monarchy here. Would you like to be Minister for Nuclear Usage?* A title would go with it, of course. But you may prefer the House of Lords, where you will have no duties and can be driven around to cut the ribbons when now nuclear plants are opened. You can still go to Puerto Rico if you want to . Being in the House of Lords would give you more time to write your book on buffer solutions. Think about it.

Regards to Anne and Thomas the Photographer.

Fred C. (“Elizabeth, si! Bella, no!!) Dobbs

*You can be Minister for Nuclear, Coal & Pear Power if you prefer.

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