Dr. Elliott Jonas
Director, Department of Geriatrics
Oakland Municipal Hospital
Oakland, CA 94609
Dear Dr. Jonas:
It is with great pleasure that I write this recommendation to you on behalf of the American Mastodon, who has alerted me of his wishes to serve as a resident in your hospital. For the past four years, I have had the distinct pleasure of teaching the young Mr. Mastodon in no less than five classes relating to geriatric health and elderly care. I can say with forthright conviction that the young Mr. Mastodon shows great promise in this area of medicine, both because of his unerring measure of rock-solid intelligence and his deep reserves of compassion and sympathy. I cannot more highly recommend an individual to serve as another doctor's apprentice and protege; indeed, were I still a practicing physician I should desire the post myself.
Excellent in the classroom and in the clinic, Mr. Mastodon shows a great propensity for learning. However, he is not merely a rote practioner; in fact, perhaps his greatest asset is his curiosity, which I believe will someday propel the young man to help geriatrics continue to grow as a cutting edge field of care and preventive care medicine.
Though some have criticized the American Mastodon for his excessive curiosity, I believe that he will flourish under the hand of a qualified and exemplary professional, such as yourself. Some, for example, saw only harm when Mr. Mastodon invited a local heavy metal band to a small nursing home on the outskirts of town, chaining the doors shut after the performance started and threatening those wishing to leave with the promise of stopped prescriptions. Indeed, this caused a small furor here in Duluth and Mr. Mastodon was, unfortunately and in my opinion illegally, arraigned on felony counts of hostage-taking and endagerment. If - and this was my opinion from the onset - we instead look at the incident as another case study in possible mood enhancement and pain relief in the lives of our country's older persons, then Mr. Mastodon's "research" proves interesing: could not this new form of "sound therapy" prove to be an efficient method of both improving the lives of older people and also giving them the confidence to live more adventurous later-life lives? I personally don't think it's a question that should so quickly be dismissed, an opinion ultimately not shared by the Duluth Police Department.
There are other incidents I could mention, including Mr. Mastodon's experiments in faux-thanasia, wherein he "psyches" terminal patients into thinking they have died, only to be resuscitated with a new "lease" on life; his research into the benefits of breast augmentation and other cosmetic surgeries for stroke victims; and his "Alzheimer's Story Books" series, in which mentally degenerative older people are shown pictures of complete strangers and told they are family members in various life situations (e.g., "Bobby your son" is now in jail, "Mary your granddaughter" is now a stripper and single mother of two, etc.). Mr. Mastodon then asks the Alzheimer's patients if they remember anything about "Bobby" or "Mary" and records the stories they tell. Not only does this provide, at times, some much needed comic relief for the overworked staff here at Duluth Community, it also gives us a better understanding of the ways we create stories, the neural pathways those stories create, and how family, pain, and shame are ultimately interwined (this last point was not something we thought we would discover during the Story Book series, but after several sessions it became more than evident). Indeed, in all areas Mr. Mastodon has dared venture, he has forged new and unchartered paths.
Some will no doubt continue to insist that the American Mastodon is in possession of a craven - if not criminal - mind. I do not share that opinion. Rather, I see Mr. Mastodon's work as innovative and, though highly controversial, fraught with the potential to solve some of geriatrics' greatest dilemmas. He seeks to engage the patients in their own recovery, and for that I applaud him.
Please call me if you have any questions and, again, I'd like to reiterate my firm belief that no finer a man could possibly be available for the open resident position at your hospital. The young Mr. Mastodon shows great potential in his chosen field and will meet or exceed all of your expectations. Indeed, a father could not be prouder of his son.
Dr. American Mastodon, Sr.
Professor of Geriatric Medicine
Duluth Community Elder Care
Duluth, MN 55808