Faced by a hiatus created by the prolonged absence of Dr. Rabe in Europe, and by the necessity of filling the editorial space in THE HOMOEOPATHIC RECORDER regularly occupied by the products of his facile pen, paste pot and scissors, I found myself in a quandary which threatened to become a panic.
I have often been hard put to it to fill acceptably ( to myself, at least) the ever yawning space in my own Department of Homoeopathic Philosophy. To fill the Editors space also seemed a pretty large contract. My pen is only a medium sized Waterman (reinforced occasionally by a lead pencil), my scissors are rusty and dull, and I have never been able to find a paste pot which would not dry out and be useless just when I happened to need it most. How Rabe kept his pot in such good condition I can only understand on the supposition that he had a secret formula for perennial paste and used it so often that it had no time to dry out.
But for me, what to do? That space had to be filled somehow, lest the publishers and printers should think I had fallen down on my job and start an investigation.
“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” as Rabe very well knows. Has not his dolichocephalous dome been worn smooth and shiny by the seven years friction of his editorial crown? Moreover, the occupant of an editorial chair is likely to find a tack in it almost any time, and so be in trouble at both ends.
In this predicament I cast feverishly about for some solution. I pondered over the situation by day without arriving at any conclusion. Finally, as often happens with truly great and good men– poets, philosophers, mathematicians, inventors (I never heard of it with and editor before), the problem was solved for me one night, during sleep, by my subliminal self. I woke in the morning with an inspiration.
It came in the form of a suggestion: Why not call up our old friend E. P. Anshutz (long time editor of THE HOMOEOPATHIC RECORDER, but domiciled since 1918 in a comfortable bachelor bungalow on a shady street in Editors Paradise), and ask him to help me out? Surely, though I, he is not so busy, nor so far out of touch and sympathy with his former friends and admirers down here that he will not be willing to make a suggestion to his quondam reader and present, if only temporary and most unworthy successor in the editorial chair with a tack in it.
Undoubtedly they have telephones in heaven. So I took the receiver off the hook quite confidently, called up “Information,” got the right station and number and presently was connected. I heard the buzz of the golden call-bell and then the tones of a familiar voice.
“Hello, Hello, Anshutz speaking. . . . Whos that? Close, editing THE HOMOEOPATHIC RECORDER? Whos he? Dont seem to remember him. . . . Well, what can I do for you. No, Im not busy, just sitting back in a big arm chair in my shirt sleeves, smoking an after-dinner cigar. Got a pile of galley proofs there on my desk to correct, but they can wait. No rush up here. Magazine always out on time. Published Every Little While, like Elbert Hubbards Philistine. No fixed date, you see.
“Well, Well ! RECORDERS still going on, Rabes gone to Europe and youre editing. . . . O yes, now I seem to recall you. Wrote a paper on Vaccination that created quite a stir in the old days, didnt you? That was good stuff, but out of date now. Vaccination was a leading topic with me for years and I made good use of it. “They tried to crash the gate with their serums, vaccines and antitoxins, but failed. No dope, no hypodermic syringes, no scarificators nor any other lethal weapons needed here.
They are all shot down the chute to the S.D.I.D.M.D (Sterilizing, Disinfecting and Incinerating Department, Medical Division). Theyre used there on incoming doctors who have practised that sort of thing on their patients. Nothing like giving them a dose of their own medicine. They need it down there! (A chuckle) Nothing but straight homoeopathy practiced here. Mostly high potencies used.
“Occasionally we have to send down to B & T. and get a few tinctures and how dilutions for some of the newcomers who have been admitted on probation and are just waking up. Have to let them taper off and come to their senses gradually.
“Whats that? Oh no ! You cant get me back on that thankless job. Too busy; and besides, Ive graduated and been promoted. I write only when I feel like it. No more paste pot and scissors for me. No more Notes and Comments laboriously penned at midnight after a hard days work, with head a buzzing and the bed beckoning seductively. No more defences, attacks, preachments or criticisms, directed at a lot of muddle-headed doctors who dont know the difference between a hack and a hand- saw; between an antitoxin and a homoeopathic remedy; between a serum and a similimum. No, sir ! I served my apprenticeship at that trade and I am through.
“But they need some of that yet, you say? Well, doubtless they do. Theyre an incorrigible lot. Egotistical, up to date, hard boiled, think they know it all. But theyre due for a surprise when they come up to The Gate and The Old Man holds them up for a little quiz (with a twinkle in his eye) before he turns them over to the guides who conduct them ceremoniously around the corner and downstairs to the M.R.D. (Medical Reconstruction Department). There they get a thorough course of their own purgatorical treatment by way of penance, preparatory to a course of instruction in real medicine.
“Sorry ! Id like to help you out, but how can I? Ah ! I have an idea. If you want some of my stuff so much, why not dig out one or two of my old editorials and reprint them? I fancy some of the old fellow might like to read them over again, and even younger ones might find something in them to set them to thinking. Possibly they might discover that they had been progressing backward since I laid down the pen and stopped fighting for safe and sane medicine in the form of Hahnemannian Homoeopathy.
“Think its a good idea, do you ? O, youre entirely welcome. Dont mention it. Glad you thought of me. Call me up again when you feel like it. Goodbye.” And the telephone clicked.
Good old Anshutz ! Faithful worker, keen, humorous critic, sound literary adviser, quizzical comrade, entertaining writer, relentless foe of medical sham and hypocrisy, loyal friend and modest gentleman! It is good to feel that his wit and wisdom are still within reach by one means or another, even at this late day.
Here follow some short editorials by Anshutz, selected almost at random from the 1917 issues of THE HOMOEOPATHIC RECORDER — among the last he wrote before he passed over. Judge whether they are out of date or not.