A letter to an eminent man of 98 years who is still in there pitching.

The eminent Joel Elkes, MD at 98 years

22nd Day of February, 2012, Wednesday

Joel Elkes, M.D.

5033 Oxford Drive

Sarasota, Florida  34242

Dear Dr. Elkes:

This is intended as a quick note of introduction at the behest of your daughter, Anna.   Anna has been kind enough to show me a book of your writings and I am most impressed with your style and agility with the language.  Such agility is rare today; rarer still in a medical man as that art requires the mastery and use of such a disciplined and exacting nomenclature that it very often leaves little for the layman to appreciate.  Not so with your work.  Good job!!

I was most particularly taken with your affectionate letter to Dr. Salk in 1994 at his 80th birthday and your homage to Mr. Charles E. Smith of 1991.  Mr. Smith was a man whom I both knew and greatly admired on many levels.  The work I have read that has most intrigued me so far is your 1954 report Effects of Chlorpromazine on the Behaviour of Chronically Overactive Psychotic Patients.  Again, from the standpoint of a layman, this work, while necessarily technical and medical specific, is written in such a way that the lay reader can pretty readily understand the tenor of the study which generated this report.  To have done such work and made it readily readable is laudable.  I commend you roundly.

Writing has today become a large disappointment to me.  It was not long ago that every educated man knew certain basic things and had a lucid command of, at a bare minimum, his native language. Now, such fundamental amenities are, lamentably, very unusual.  I hope that we can stay in touch.  I know that Anna feels that you and I have a great deal in common in terms of the way we view various aspects of life and work.  I hope that assessment proves out.

Yours sincerely,

John Daniel Begg

 

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Washington, DC

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