Lipton’s Journal/February 14, 1955/564

From Project Mailer

The kick-off was the weekend in Baltimore. One interesting result is that I have a mock-cold this morning. That is, my nose is running—like allergy—and yet I do not feel the depression of a cold. It has set me thinking about the nature of colds, and the Roxitchitl[1] or whatever the hell it is that Bob gave.[2] I took a capsule last night, felt no effect, and so added two seconals[3] and went to sleep. But the note on the box literature said that “nasal congestion” was sometime a side-effect. This morning I have nasal congestion.

I wonder if colds are not an expression of an S-victory necessary to relieve a too-intense conflict. The depression which accompanies my colds (except for today) is the sadness and anger of the er at being defeated again. Yet the cold may well be one of the basic homeostases—when one is feeling too much “tnesion” (nesion as nerve tension) too much er, the S relieves the conflict by knocking the body out—what is essential to the cold is that the er cannot win at that given period, and so S in its victory declares a punitive peace treaty. The roxyl drug is probably an S stimulant, an H vitiator—hence in people whose nervous systems react to S increments by a cold, “nasal congestion” is the result. Whenever I get a bad cold in the future, I am going to try Lipton’s and see if it is a cure.


  1. Unknown.
  2. A prominent Baltimore psychoanalyst and writer, Robert Lindner (1914 – 1956) became acquainted with Mailer after reading Lindner’s 1952 sharp critique of current psychoanalytic practice, Prescription for Rebellion (1952), published by Mailer’s publisher, Rinehart. The letter, which contained both praise and criticism for Lindner’s ideas, led to a close friendship over the next four years, including many visits and the sharing of work, including Lipton’s. See extended note on entry 56.
  3. Brand name for Secobarbital sodium, a barbiturate used as a sedative and anticonvulsant. Mailer used this drug regularly in the early and middle 1950s.