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Comfortably numb
  1. Robert W Tarr
  1. Correspondence to Dr R W Tarr, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, 11100 Euclid Ave, Ohio 44106, USA; robert.tarr{at}

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There is no pain you are receding

A distant ship's smoke on the horizon

You are only coming through in waves

Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying

When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse

Out of the corner of my eye

I turned to look but it was gone

I cannot put my finger on it now

The child is grown the dream is gone

I have become comfortably numb

Roger Waters and David Gilmore—1979

I am sitting here, poolside at the La Costa resort, tying to come up with a topic for my next editor's column. The Louis Armstrong song ‘Beautiful world’ keeps replaying in my mind. Although the weather is a little cool for this time of year, the sky is crystal blue. My thoughts are intermittently interrupted by the sounds of splashes and laughter from children as well as the visual entertainment of shapely forms in bikinis. I am writing this opening paragraph not because it has any real connection to the rest of the column but because I realized this will be published in December, a month during which some of us may well be in need of a summertime interlude.

Despite the distractions at poolside I did eventually come up with …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.