(Parte 7 de 7)

Max now became more specific about his wartime injury and explained that he had suffered a severe concussion, lying out stark and unconscious for some eight or nine hours. Attorneys pointed out his many periods of treatment in psychiatric hospitals. The governor soon agreed to parole him into the custody of a federal hospital in Mississippi.

During his present sojourn in the hospital he was for several weeks happily adjusted on the admission ward, busy doing small favors for the physician, congenial with all the personnel, and helpful and kindly toward psychotic patients. He was alert, quick-witted, nimble with his hands, and entirely free from delusions, hallucinations, or any of the broader personality changes associated with the ordinary psychoses. He was by no means "nervous," even in the lay sense, and showed no emotional instability or signs of ungovernable impulse. Rather than an excess of anxiety, he showed the reverse, apparently finding little or nothing in his present situation or in all his past difficulties to cause worry or uneasiness.

As the time passed, however, he began to grow restive. He became somewhat condescending toward the physician, frequently referring to himself as a man of superior education and culture and boasting that he had studied for years at Heidelberg.

Shortly before the time set for him to come before the staff, he demanded his discharge. This was denied. He now became involved in frequent altercations with attendants and sometimes fought desultorily with other patients. These fights always started over trifles, and Max's egotism and fractiousness raised the issue. He never attacked others suddenly or incomprehensibly as might a psychotic person motivated by delusions or prompted by hallucinations. The causes of his quarrels were readily understandable and were usually found to be similar to those which move such types as the familiar schoolboy bully. Usually his adversaries were patients also disposed to quarrel. No signs of towering rage appeared or even of impulses too strong to be controlled by a very meager desire to refrain. He always took care not to challenge an antagonist who might get the

THE MATERIAL 3 upper hand. During this period he talked much of his past glories as a pugilist, describing himself as former featherweight champion of all the army camps in the United States. The desire to show off appeared to be a strong motive behind many of his fights. As will be brought out later, he was indeed a skillful boxer. These stories were not delusion but the exaggeration and falsifying, sometimes unconscious or halfconscious, that are often seen in sane people and sometimes even in those who are able,

Max was often caught sowing the seeds of discontent among other patients whom he encouraged to break rules, to oppose attendants, and to demand discharges. He made small thefts from time to time. This trend culminated in his kicking out an iron grill during the night and leaving the hospital. He took with him two psychotic patients, and numerous others testified that he had tried to persuade them to leave also. The next afternoon he was returned to the hospital by the police after

* Such traits can occasionally be found even in wise and reliable people. A highly regarded and respected friend of mine, a doctor of philosophy, recently appointed professor of physics in a small but distinguished college, and the author of several useful and accurate contributions to scientific literature, is the first who comes to mind.

This distinguished man has often regaled groups of acquaintances, myself among them, with accounts of working his way through the university by playing professional ice hockey at night, later setting type on a newspaper for several hours, rising before daylight to stoke tugboats on the waterfront, riding thirty-four miles to a high school to teach one subject and thirty-four miles back, as well as keeping house in a three-room apartment shared with six aviators and relieving the janitor of the building one hour during each twenty-four. All these activities were spoken of as being carried out simultaneously and along with full-time work at the university. He described in great detail and with apparent familiarity the duties of these positions. His only studying, he said, was done on the subway en route to his various duties.

The same friend once came up from behind while another man and I were commenting on the height of a cliff on which we stood. The hazards of a dive from the position were being idly discussed. The newcomer at once estimated, probably with commendable accuracy, the height, the angle of landing, and all the technicalities of such a dive. He then launched into an astonishing description of a dive he had made in early youth from a bridge 167 feet above the Guadalquiver.

One of the students to whom this excellent scholar lectures stated that it is the custom for each succeeding class to tabulate his adventures and their duration in these pseudoreminiscences and therefrom compute his age. The top figure so far is 169 years. Several classes have bettered 150. The students have great respect for him and confidence in him, as a teacher and as a man. They are particularly devoted to him.

Let it be clearly understood that the person discussed in this footnote is not being brought forward as illustrative of the subject of this study. He is no part of a psychopath. He is, in fact, a character whose essential traits lie at the opposite extreme. The reminiscences here ascribed to him are not told boastfully or for the purpose of shielding himself or of gaining any material end. He is strikingly free of arrogance, kind to a remarkable degree, and altogether worthy of his strong reputation as a good and reliable man. His word in any practical matter is to be respected.

34 THE MASK OF SANITY being arrested in the midst of a brawl that he had caused by cheating at a game of chance in a low dive. He had taken a few beers but was shrewd, alert, and well in command of his body and his faculties.

He now insisted on his discharge from the hospital against advice and was brought before the medical staff. The diagnosis of psychopathic personality was again made. In his demands to be released, he arrogantly maintained that he had been pardoned outright by the governor of the state which had imprisoned him, pointed out vehemently that he was sound in mind and body, and expressed strong indignation at being confined unjustly in what he referred to as a "nut house." It was then pointed out to him that he was not pardoned but merely paroled, and he was told that if discharged at present he would be returned to the penitentiary.

Here his wrath began to subside at once and marvelously. Hastily, but with some subtlety, his tone changed, and he began to find points in common with the advice he had been receiving from the staff. He left the room in a cordial frame of mind, tossing friendly and fairly clever quips back at the physicians, nearly all of whom he had known during some of his many admissions to various hospitals.

About ten days later he was pardoned outright by the governor and almost immediately took legal action which got him discharged against medical advice. Many similar adventures had occupied his time prior to the recent admission. Some of these had resulted in his being sent, as in the episode just cited, to psychiatric hospitals from which he promptly obtained his release by legal action. Others had led him to jail and to the police barracks dozens of times for charges not sufficiently serious for him to utilize the expedient of psychiatric hospitalization as a means of escape.

A series of troubles had led to his reaching the hospital on this last occasion. As mentioned previously, he had many years ago divorced his first wife and remarried. The second legal spouse continued to play an important part in his career. As the proprietress or madame of a local brothel generally conceded to be the most orderly and, perhaps in a limited sense, the most respectable institution of its sort in the city, she was constantly embarrassed by the actions of her husband. Though enjoying a good part of the revenue from this ever-lucrative business, Max troubled himself little to maintain the dignity of the house.

In fact, it seemed that he went out of his way to complicate matters for his wife.

If not through his daily and nightly brawls or uproars in various low grogshops, dancehalls, or "juke joints," then by putting slugs into slot machines or serving as fence in some petty thieving racket, he brought the police in search of him down on the "house of joy" which maintained him.

(Parte 7 de 7)

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