The Caliper Summer 1949
Dr. A.T. Jousse is a very shy and wary bird, but a Caliper associate caught a glimpse of him in the Lyndhurst shrubbery early in May. Using a shiny new pair of callipers as bait, he lowered the hapless doctor into the open and, after a hard chase, cornered him in his office.
“Now look, Doc,” he said diplomatically, “you’re one of the top medicine men of the Canadian paraplegic tribe, and our readers deserve to know something about you. Give with details, please.”
“How long since you’ve done any crutch walking,” the Doc asked ominously. “Well, sir, it’s like this, sir…”
“Oh! I thought so. Biceps flabby, deltoids non-existent. Stick out your tongue. I knew it. A palpable case of forensic divergence of the coreopsis. Tsk tsk!”
“Is it serious, Doc?” the Caliper man demanded anxiously.
“I’m afraid so. But don’t give up hope. A refresher course should do the trick. Start from scratch. Plenty of exercise. Parallel bars, mat routine, volleyball, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy…”
“You can’t do this to me. Doc, you wouldn’t…” our man pleaded.
Doc Jousse shrugged. It’s either that or call the Humane Society to take you away and – well it’s quite painless, you know.”
Our chastened reporter turned away, crushed, then raised his head with a last request. “The details, doc? All about how you were born in a little old log cabin and stuff like that?” At a time like this, one shouldn’t bother oneself with petty details. Now run along,” the Doc pronounced solemnly, giving him an encouraging part on the back. But reportorial instincts are hard to kill and our man made one last desperate attempt.
“OK if that’s the way you want it, will send Willie Winn up to interview you.”
The Doc blanched and staggered back, but this was only momentary. Being made of tougher stuff than ordinary mortals he soon recovered and a hard gleam entered his eye. He began to paw through his files.
“W” he muttered. “Yes, here we have it. Winn. A particularly intransigent case. No desire to crutch walk. I believe we had to – er – provide stimulus. Now let’s see. That would be under ‘whip’. Oh, yes, I remember, it was the big one; the bullwhip. Under ‘B’ hmm. Baseball bats, Borgia, Bromides – ah! Here it is under ‘Bull’. Yes, Willie’s name is here.”
He beamed on the Caliper man, rubbing his hands enthusiastically. “Glad to see Willie – anytime – yes, anytime.”
But Willie, when approached on the matter, took wordlessly to his bed, turned his face to the wall and sobbed brokenly so other means had to be found to get the sinister details of Doc Jousse’s life. We originally wanted to do a thumbnail sketch of the Doctor, but the few facts we finally mastered would cover only a very small thumbnail, indeed.
Rumour has it that he was born at VanKleek Hill, Ontario on a date roughly judged as no earlier than Confederation. Until 1938, when he graduated from McMaster University, his life is clouded in mystery, and again there is a gap until he graduated in Medicine from the University of Toronto. His internship was at Toronto General Hospital and until coming to Lyndhurst Lodge as superintendent in March, 1945, he worked with Dr. McKenzie of T. G. H. And at the Ontario Hospital of Toronto. He has, (a) one very charming wife: (b) two lovely children.
Last year, patients and ex-patients of the Lodge presented him with a new Chevrolet sedan to replace the public hazard which he had been using for transportation. There seem to have been other reasons for the presentation, too, since from time to time one hears comments on his deep understanding and the value of his work in paraplegia. It’s an angle will have to check on.