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 institution.”
“Another interesting possibility,” agreed the doctor.
“And finally, if none of these things appeal to me… I can always continue to be a teakettle!”
Another version of this joke:
Dr. Leroy, the head psychiatrist at the local mental hospital, is examining patients to see if they’re cured and ready to re-enter society.
“So, Mr. Clark,” the doctor says to one of his patients, “I see by your chart that you’ve been recommended for dismissal. Do you have any idea what you might do once you’re released?”
The patient thinks for a moment, then replies, “Well, I went to school for mechanical engineering. That’s still a good field, good money there. But on the other hand, I thought I might write a book about my experience here in the hospital, what it’s like to be a patient here. People might be interested in reading a book like that. In addition, I thought I might go back to college and study art history, which I’ve grown interested in lately.”
Dr. Leroy nods and says, “Yes, those all sound like intriguing possibilities.”
The patient replies, “And the best part is, in my spare time, I can go on being a teapot.”