Uncle Sam needs a dram

17 Nov

Uncle Sam was worried about his condition. He knew something about psychoanalysis, so he determined to try it on himself. Seating himself at his desk, for twenty minutes he made his mind a blank, noting down on a piece of paper the random thoughts that rose into consciousness. This was the result:

“Business depression . . . prohibition . . . League of Nations . . . Socialism . . . cocktails . . . unemployment . . . free verse . . . profiteering . . . housing shortage . . . union labor . . . high balls . . . taxes . . . woman suffrage . . . stagnation . . . Mary Pickford . . . heart of the world . . . eighteenth amendment . . . disarmament . . . savings campaign . . . self-determination . . . Babe Ruth . . . vision . . . world series . . . Sinn Fein . . . bootlegging . . . Davis cup . . . Main Street . . . Jack Dempsey . . . Ku Klux Klan . . . hold-ups . . . home brew.”

Pensively, Uncle Sam contemplated what he had written. “I’m a sick man” he murmured weakly, and he passed his hand across his brow. “There seems absolutely no connection to my thoughts.” But suddenly a look of hope came into his eyes. “Perhaps it’s not so bad as I thought. Let me see!” and he counted eagerly: “One . . . two . . . three . . . four . . . five . . . six.”

The same idea, he saw, occurred six times, though in somewhat different form: “prohibition . . . cocktails . . . high balls . . . eighteenth amendment . . . bootlegging . . . home brew.”

He drew a deep breath.

“What I need,” he sighed, “is a good drink!”

— William Wallace Whitelock, “And did he get it? Uncle Sam psycho-analyzes himself”, Life, vol. 78, no. 2033 (20 October 1921), p. 2.

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