It was Mickey’s first night in the penitentiary. All of the inmates were in their cells and he was trying to become a bit more comfortable with his meager surroundings. As he leaned against the bars at the front of his cell, Mickey heard a voice call out “44” and the whole cell block erupted into laughter!
Another voice called “16” and again there was laughter.
A third voice called “62” which was followed by laughter throughout the block.
Mickey didn’t know what was going on so he rapped on his cell wall.
“Yeah, whaddaya want?” came the gruff reply from next door.
“What’s going on, here?” asked Mickey.
“Well,” said the other inmate, “down in the prison library there’s only one joke book. We’ve all read the book so many times that we don’t waste time telling the joke, we just call out it’s number.”
So the next day Mickey went down to the library and, sure enough, found the yellowed, dog-eared joke book and read it from cover to cover.
That night, wanting to be part of the group, Mickey confidently called out “44” and everyone laughed! He tried calling “16” and “62” and again there were peals of laughter. Then he called 57, and the halls rang with laughter.
After several minutes, one prisoner was still rolling on the floor laughing. More minutes – still laughing.
Mickey rapped on the cell wall.
“Yeah, waddaya want?” asked the other inmate.
“I don’t understand it,” asked Mickey, “Why is Tommy STILL laughing?”
“Well,” said the gruff inmate, “He’d never heard that one before!”