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Bill Thayer

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October 9

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Collected Works
of Ducrot Pepys

Ronan C. Grady

Newburgh, N. Y., 1943

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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November 6
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p57  October 23, 1942 . . . .

Monday. Today we ordered our class rings. My other wife whose tastes run slightly toward Oriental magnificence was with difficulty restrained from ordering eleven, the odd one being intended for his left ear, but was contented with one when he found that he was not the man he thought he was and that he tended to crumple to the floor under the load of a mere four. I myself was greatly tempted to order a fivecarat diamond but resisted this urge with surprising ease.

Tuesday. The Department of Military Topography and Graphics has been having us contour maps and stuff lately. This not only exposes me to large quantities of air and pneumococci but also is giving me a large and profound distrust of maps. If, as the slightly distraught Department of M. T. and G. assures me, maps are made by fools like me romping about with an inclinometer, an oddly shaped piece of wood, and a dull pencil, then what makes everyone so terribly sure that the world is round?

Wednesday. We have been honored by being allowed to be the first to reap the benefits of a new development in preventative medicine. I refer to things which the authorities, lapsing into baby talk for the first time in history, call "sneezers". I am somewhat of an authority on germs due a physique like a walking culture medium and it is my opinion that any virus worth its salt is not even going to be halted momentarily by three square feet of plywood. Even my other wife can find his way unaided around one of these "sneezers". And as I have seen just plain lumps of inanimate matter that displayed higher I. Q.'s than my other wife I consider that my doubts are well founded. Also it is apparent that what good effects those "sneezers" might have will certainly be lost in the Mess Hall where due to the whirling confusion of thirty‑man tables three men are apt to be drinking from the same glass at the same time.

[image ALT: A drawing of an ordinary desk lamp, and beneath it a small plywood board, upright, inserted in two low wooden legs together forming a stand. Up this board, a tall column of bugs atop each others' shoulders. It is a cartoon of an item called a 'sneezer', introduced as a health measure at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point in 1942, and discussed in the text.]

". . . any virus . . . is not going to be halted. . ."

Thursday. Today we contoured some more. While deeply engrossed in my fascinating task I strolled a little too close to the shore of one of those inland seas which dot the contour area and was drawn into it by something which I did not see but which I suspect was a giant squid. The laws of nature being immutable I became quite damp and upon emerging from the vasty depths of this ocean extremely cold. I turned a repellent shade of blue and was developing a nasty death rattle before I was able to obtain warmth and shelter. Matters were not helped by my sane wife chafing my wrists with such ardor as to break one and severely abrade both.

Friday. I have been studying the history of the ancients lately. Militarily they were very efficient but their masters were not the kind of men I would like to number among my friends. Caligula the Cruel, Harmodius the Tyrant, and Cato. We are much better off. I keep telling myself.

Saturday. If there were Saturdays in the week what crops the farmers could raise. We could probably have broccoli every day.

Sunday. Well, we did not have an earthquake today.

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Page updated: 16 Aug 12