There is great wisdom to be found in jokes. There is great foolishness to be found in jokes, too, of course, but I love the ones that sit right in that sweet spot where hilarity meets real insight. This is is one of them:
There was this lab where the scientists were doing research on the health effects of cigarettes. They kept a rabbit in a cage and forced him to smoke cigarettes all day long–four packs a day. The wild rabbits who lived in the woods nearby got wind of what was happening in the lab and were scandalized. So one night after the scientists had gone home to their families, the wild rabbits organized a burgling party to break into the lab and spring the lab rabbit. It went off without a hitch. The rabbits disabled the alarmed, jimmied the door, opened the cage, and scampered out into the moonglow with their new-found comrade before the night watchman ever knew what happened.
It was the best night of the lab rabbit’s life. He fairly snorted the crisp air of freedom and capered about for joy. The wild rabbits took the lab rabbit to raid a nearby garden, and he had carrots and lettuces and radishes for the first time in his life. He had never eaten anything but pelletized food, and he couldn’t believe that such delicacies existed in this world. The rabbits celebrated until the wee hours of the morning, finally sleeping where they fell in exultant exhaustion, satisfied that they had done a good thing in ushering a poor, oppressed brother into new freedom.
When the sun came up, however, the lab rabbit was nowhere to be seen. The wild rabbits looked in every brushpile and behind every stump in the meadow, to no avail. At last they tracked him to the steps of the laboratory, where he was frantically lurching at the locked door.The wild rabbits gaped at one another in mute astonishment. Finally one of them called to the lab rabbit, who, in his frenzy, hadn’t noticed they were behind him. “What are you doing?!” he asked.
The lab rabbit wheeled around, fixed him with a twitchy stare, and barked, “I’ve got to have another cigarette!”
P.S. I told this joke at the dinner table a year or so ago. The next day my daughter regaled her kindergarten class with the story. Her teacher only caught the punch line; picture a little blonde-haired girl with one eye squinted and one eye staring wide declaiming, “I’ve got to have another cigarette!”