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 their wishes were granted. Satisfied with what they were given, they went 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, while imprisonment was against their will, were somehow satisfied with their 10 years in prison, because they enjoyed time doing what they wanted to do. On the other hand, Louis, who had also spent 10 years in prison against his will, unlike the other two, hadn’t been able to enjoy his life there by doing what he had wanted to do. In addition, he had constantly been irritated to think that just one light would have allowed him to smoke any amount of cigarettes before him. The ten years’ life in prison he had gone through was really a triple distress for him.