Physician Gives His Views Of The Business Depression
( Originally Published 1936 )
"I suppose it is very presumptuous," my cranky old friend, Dr. Adrian Gibbs, reflected, on the eve of Washington's birthday, "for a mere practicing physician to have any ideas on the depression. Especially since experts in prize fighting and in lariat throwing have under-taken to advise the country about its financial needs.
"But a doctor ought to know a little something about human nature in sickness, and the sick state is not so very different from the sick individual. The citizens of the body are the cells; the blood vessels, the arteries and veins, are the main traveled roads; the glands, like the liver and the pancreas, are the industries; and the stomach, intestines and the lungs are the agriculture. I am not sure but most of our present trouble is due to the hardening of the arteries of distribution.
"And maybe excessive function of the glands of internal secretion.
"I was talking with a group of business men the other evening after dinner, and they certainly were gloomy. They saw no hope ahead. I finally said to them, `You know, I have seen a lot of people like you. A fellow comes down with pneumonia. Just before he gets sick he is full of pep, got a lot of energy; he has been running around spending it, staying up nights, but finally it gets him. At first, he is too sick to know he is sick.
"Finally, he gets a little bit better and he finds out he has been sick. But he is quite hopeful. He can see a future time when he is going to be quite well again. Then he gets stronger, and on the first day of convalescence he tries to get out of bed. His legs are so weak he can't stand on them. He trembles all over. A black curtain comes before his eyes. There is a ringing in his ears.
"He finally crawls back into bed and gets under the covers and thinks, oh! goodness, nobody knows how sick I am; I am never going to get well. You know, at that moment he is right on the road to recovery. He shouldn't expect to be as lively as he was before he got sick for a long time, but he is getting well all the time.' "