On 5 December 1963, the day Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, a man in Boston named Arthur Inman, having made several earlier attempts on his own life, managed to put a bullet through his head. A variety of chronic ailments and complaints had made him an invalid for nearly all of his 68 years, and except for brief excursions in his ancient chauffeur-driven Cadillac, he had since 1919 confined himself to an apartment building in downtown Boston named Garrison Hall. For as many as sixteen hours of a normal day he would stay in bed, when not sitting or reading in the bathroom. The rooms he frequented were kept shaded for the same reason his car was painted a dull black: to protect his eyes from glare. He suffered periodically from nose bleeds, hay fever, arthritis, influenza, a slipping rib cage, migraine headaches, pain in the testicles, pains in the neck, collarbone and shoulder, chills, cold sweats, canker sores, skin rashes, trouble with his stomach, which required frequent pumping, trouble with his throat, which required ultra-violet treatments, trouble with his coccyx, which was ministered to by a succession of osteopaths. He was especially dependent on Dr Cyrus Pike, who much of the time was having an affair with his wife Evelyn.
LRB 7 November 1985 | PDF Download