A man who had been in a mental institution for some years finally improved to the point where it was thought he might be released. The psychiatrist that ran the institution decided it was better to proceed with caution, and chose to interview him first.
"Tell me," said the doctor, "if we release you, as we are considering, what do you plan to do with your life?"
The inmate said, "It would be wonderful to get back to real life, and if I do, I will certainly refrain from making my former mistake. I was a nuclear physicist, you see, and it was the stress of my work in weapons research that helped to put me here. If I am released, I shall limit myself to work in pure theory, where I believe the situation will be less difficult and stressful."
"Wonderful," said the psychiatrist.
"Or else," continued the patient, "I might teach. There is something to be said for dedicating your life to expanding the knowledge of young people."
"Definitely," said the psychiatrist.
"Then again, I might write. There is always a need for books on science, or I may even write a novel based on my experiences in the psychiatric instutition."
"Another interesting possibility," agreed the doctor.
"And finally, if none of these things appeals to me, I can always continue to be a teakettle.
Many articles taken from 'A word with the doctor', by Dr. John Windsor.