September 1966

A Three Pipe Question

Author Affiliations

Calgary Associate Clinic Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Arch Intern Med. 1966;118(3):275-280. doi:10.1001/archinte.1966.00290150089017

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"Out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer." (Judges V, 14)

Gleanings from the Commonplace Book of a Medical Reader

The question that I pose is what Sherlock Holmes, in a remark to Doctor Watson, called "a three pipe problem." When confronted with a problem of unusual dimensions, he had recourse to his pipe, "the companion of deepest meditation," and would ask that he not be disturbed for at least 50 minutes. With or without benefit of the philosophic pipe, my question is—What are the ingredients and conditions for the happy life? It is not a clinical problem in the narrow sense of the term, but it involves medicine closely, for health enters into the equation. "Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous," wrote Emerson. It is a question that transcends most of our immediate daily concerns. It underlies

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