ten-second joker

one of the more noticeable senior volunteers at the hospital is this man with the huge eyeglasses who can be frequently seen at the cafeteria diligently putting away the garbage around lunchtime.

everyone knows him, or has at least bumped into him, because he always comes up to people at random to tell his favorite joke.

he'd walk up to you and ask, "how about a ten-second joke?" and then he'd hurriedly narrate his practiced joke, as if being timed, which goes:

"there was a man who went to a psychiatrist, who was complaining that he felt like a dog. the psychiatrist asked him, how long have you felt this way? the man replied, ever since i was a PUPPY!"

he must have told me this joke over a dozen times now everytime he comes across me on my lunch break, but i always give a polite chuckle afterwards. he also tells this joke to the same people at the cafeteria most of the time, but he explains to me that he is hearing-impaired (sure enough, he wears a hearing aid on his right ear), and his ten-second spiel with strangers helps him interact with people, which in turn gives him a sense of accomplishment.

"you have no idea how you've made my day", he'd say after my patiently listening to his joke which he tells over and over again. he also confesses that he does this to people and children at the local mall.

he has a peculiar way of "rewarding" you for lending him an ear. he hands you a small white envelope with random articles from the new york times taped onto it, mostly cut from the "letters to the editor" portion. "something for you to read," he'd say. and i always thank him.

god bless you, sal.

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