Chapter & Verse

Correspondence on not-so-famous lost words

Robert Rosenberg hopes for an original source for a story about two patients so frustrated by their psychiatrist’s silence in response to whatever they said that they conspired to get a rise out of him. They made up an elaborate dream full of bizarre details and memorized it word for word. The first patient recounted the dream to the psychiatrist on Monday and, as expected, received no response. The second patient reported the dream on Wednesday, again eliciting no response —until the very end of the hour, when the psychiatrist said offhandedly, “Funny thing about that dream of yours: it’s the third time I’ve heard it this week.”

Ransford Pyle wants to learn who said (as best he recalls it), “I’ll pretend I’m teaching if you’ll pretend you’re learning.”

“fighting cancer with telepathy” (May-June). Paul Bickart proposed Norman Spinrad’s “Carcinoma Angels,” and Lark-Aeryn Speyer suggested “Night Win,” by Nancy Kress, but the story sought has not yet been identified.

“This machine surrounds hate” (May-June). Ed Levin and David Feurzeig were the first to point out Pete Seeger’s debt to Woody Guthrie, whose guitar face carried the message “This Machine Kills Fascists” as he performed at bond drives during World War II. Elizabeth Segal found a January 29, 2010, New York Times article about Seeger’s short-lived plan to auction off his banjo head for charity; it stated that the “well-worn face of Mr. Seeger’s banjo had been with him for more than 30 years.”

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