Joe, Larry and Louis were caught spying in China. They were sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment, but were allowed to bring into prison whatever they asked for before being locked away.
Joe, Larry and Louis each asked for a ten years’ supply of books, a ten years’ supply of whiskey and a ten years’ supply of cigarettes, and were granted. Satisfied with what they were given, they were sent to prison.
Ten years passed, and they were released.
Joe appeared radiating extensive knowledge. He had spent every minute of the ten years absorbed in reading. Larry staggered out drunk. He had spent ten years savoring whiskey to his heart’s content. They didn’t betray the expectation of everyone. What was unexpected for everyone was Louis’s first word. It was, “Anybody got a light?” It turned out that he had been given a ten years’ supply of cigarettes as he had requested, but not a lighter, therefore he hadn’t been able to smoke any of the cigarettes yet.
The other two had, while the imprisonment was against their wills, somehow been satisfied with each of the ten years’ lives there because they had enjoyed time doing what they had wanted to do. On the other hand, Louis, who had also spent 10 years in prison against his will, hadn’t been able to enjoy his life there by doing what he had wanted to do unlike the other two. In addition, he had kept irritated to think that with just one light he could have smoked any amount of cigarettes before him. The ten years’ life in prison he had gone through was really a triple distress for him.