I’ve heard it’s not that hard. You know, the little tips that don’t get bent. Is this like the drawing on a napkin? Can’t we get a big piece of paper out and try it?”
“Well, it’s not like a napkin—it’s something you can see out the window.”
“That means I can get a little pencil on my face.”
“Now,” said the doctor, “it’s an easy thing to do, isn’t it, Dr. Hickey?”
“No—you can’t, sir. That has never happened. They make it very simple. You can’t sharpen your pencils like that, sir.”
“If I can’t sharpen my pencils,” said Hickey, “I can’t sharpen anything else. I’d have to quit the medical business altogether.”
“My God,” said the doctor, “you’re only saying it to me to make yourself feel better. I’m not interested in your happiness.”
“My God,” continued the doctor, “you can’t live that way. It’s like saying a blind man can see on his nose. You can’t live that way.”
“There’s only one way of thinking about it,” returned Hickey. “When everything is normal, they make you do it all the time. One day you’ll find a way.”
“Hickey did say they made you do it, didn’t he?” asked the doctor.
“Yes, sir,” said Hickey. Now I am convinced that it is not possible for a regular man to think as normal a person as Dr. Hickey does. He’s thinking of one thing, and when he does it he does it that way—it’s not possible to say, “I am normal, therefore I can do this and that.” He has no idea of anything. It’s such a strange, queer feeling, I know, that I cannot describe it. How can I say that I am not insane if I’m not sane? The whole world is insane. I have to learn to live in a normal world.
“Why, Dr. Hickey, do you believe me?”
“No, no—I don’t believe you.”
“Oh, is it that you don’t believe me?”
“Well, no—I’m going