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July 25, 1966

How to Be A Respectable Tramp

Author Affiliations

Bloomington, Hawaii

JAMA. 1966;197(4):300. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110040110034

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To the Editor:—  Great puzzles can be savory to those who enjoy enigmas. An enigma resolved ceases to be an enigma, and I am occasionally delighted by the appearance in a medical journal of one of these delicacies, left dangling and shimmering.The latest to catch my eye was, I am sorry to report, not in your journal, but in a contemporary publication from one of the British Isles. I quote:A further patient, who was a respectable tramp, was found in a deserted house hanging by his heels from a hole in the ceiling. He had apparently been in this unusual position for nine hours and subsequently developed acute renal failure.There is little more, nothing relevant. Respectability in tramps is not defined for us, and we are not disturbed by the quandary of how one hangs from a hole, whether the hole be in a ceiling or elsewhere,