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October 15, 1982

Boredom in War-Reply

JAMA. 1982;248(15):1832. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330150026008

In Reply.—  Many writers have noted the occurrence of boredom in war, including WW II. In Tales of the South Pacific, Michener1 wrote, "The waiting. The timeless, repetitive waiting." The officers and crew of the Navy cargo ship Reluctant in Heggen's2Mister Roberts experienced acute and chronic ennui. The professional activities and personal life of the Reluctant's Doc were similar to my own when I served on two ships in two oceans.Although I have admitted to a certain lack of enthusiasm for the scarcity of medical education aboard small ships, my patriotic fervor for the war was considerable, actually naive, looking back 40 years later. On Dec 7, 1941, I held a cozy post in Key West, Fla, which I could have retained indefinitely, perhaps for the duration of the war. I immediately applied for sea duty, which led to 15 months on the icebreaker North Star